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Dudu Myeni 'failed abysmally', declared delinquent director for life

27 May 2020 - 18:27 By TimesLIVE
Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director.
Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Wednesday.

The ruling effectively means that Myeni will not be able to be a director at any entity.

It comes after an application, launched in 2017 by Outa and the SAA Pilots' Association (SAAPA), to declare Myeni a delinquent director in terms of the Companies Act, based on her actions while she was chairperson of the SAA board.

Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage told TimesLIVE that the judgment was received shortly after 3pm on Wednesday.

"It's good news," he said. "It's been a long case - three years in the making, and a lot of hard work and a lot of money. It's good for society."

Judge Ronel Tolmay slammed Myeni's handling of the embattled airline, saying that had she not acted the way she did, SAA would be in a better financial position.

"Although SAA’s woes can certainly not be attributed to her alone, she surely contributed significantly to the position SAA and the economy finds itself in today. SAA would in all probability have been in a much better position, if not profitable, were it not for Ms Myeni’s actions," she said.

"Ms Myeni’s actions as chairperson of the board caused SAA immense harm. She was a director gone rogue - she did not have the slightest consideration for her fiduciary duty to SAA. She was not a credible witness ... she changed her versions, contradicted herself, blamed others and played the victim. Her actions did not constitute mere negligence but were reckless and wilful."

Outa and SAAPA had argued that the period of delinquency - which is set as a minimum of seven years under the act - for Myeni should  be for life. Tolmay agreed.

"This court cannot but find that she failed abysmally in executing her fiduciary duty. In my view, a lifelong delinquency order is appropriate. Ms Myeni is not a fit and proper person to be appointed as a director of any company, let alone a SOE," she said.

"The evidence in this case conclusively demonstrated that Ms Myeni's conduct was delinquent as envisaged in the … Companies Act. Accordingly, this could must declare Ms Myeni a delinquent director."

Outa’s chief legal officer Stefanie Fick said: "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 Ms 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."