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Dudu Myeni could face further probes into her role at SAA

Myeni was on Wednesday declared a delinquent director by the Pretoria High Court and was barred for life from serving as a director of any entity.

Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni testifying in her delinquency case at the High Court in Pretoria on 20 February 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG – Former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni could face further investigation into the role she played at the stricken airline.

Myeni was on Wednesday declared a delinquent director by the Pretoria High Court and was barred for life from serving as a director of any entity.

Judge Ronel Tolmay found Myeni was dishonest and grossly negligent, and ordered that her judgment be handed to the National Prosecuting Authority(NPA) for further investigation into possible criminal conduct.

Meanwhile, it emerged in Parliament on Wednesday night that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was presently carrying out a number of investigations at SAA, with the close co-operation of the business rescue practitioners (BRPs).

The DA’s Alf Lees wanted to know whether SAA’s BRPs would be launching any action against Myeni for damages incurred during her time at the airline.

First, he read from Wednesday’s judgment that declared her a lifelong delinquent director.

“Miss Myeni’s dishonesty, breach of fiduciary duty, recklessness, and gross negligence are addressed in detail. Miss Myeni not only proved to be dishonest in her dealings at SAA, but she has been dishonest with this court,” Lees said.

Speaking on behalf of the BRPs, Bongani Nkasana told the meeting the SIU was presently on SAA premises conducting a number of probes into past offences and contracts.

Nkasana said they had met with the SIU a number of times and brought anything suspicious to the investigators’ attention, making sure they got all the information they needed.

“So, this would have been one of the items already on their radar, and I am sure that they will just connect this to the current ongoing investigations,” he said.

OUTA ‘VINDICATED’ BY LEGAL VICTORY

Meanwhile, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said it wanted the NPA to bring criminal charges against Myeni.

The organisation said it was vindicated by the judgment declaring her a delinquent director for life for her role in bringing SAA to the brink of collapse. The case against Myeni was brought by Outa and the SAA Pilots' Association (Saapa) in 2018.

Outa’s chief legal officer, Stefanie Fick, said the NPA should act against her.

“We are extremely pleased to see justice meted out in a prominent matter related to state capture. When we set out on this matter three years ago, we knew it would take time and would be very costly. But every minute and every rand spent was worth it.

“We believed then, as we do now, that it is important to hold people like Myeni to account, as opposed to seeing them get away with acts of gross misconduct, year after year. Imagine what could have been done with the endless amounts of taxes lost in her tenure to alleviate poverty and advance democracy,” Fick said in a statement.

Myeni had to also pay the legal costs. But the judge said she could approach the court in three years if she had rehabilitated herself.