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No more delays, pleads lawyer, as Dudu Myeni seeks leave to appeal - again

Jan 27 2020 15:53
Sibongile Khumalo

A lawyer representing the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse in a case to have former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni declared a delinquent director on Monday pleaded with the court to proceed, as Myeni made yet another application that could stall it. 

The case has been hobbled by a series of delays, mainly on Myeni’s part, ranging from unexpected change of legal representatives to amendments to her plea.

Now, Myeni wants to appeal the orders made against her, including a ruling against an application blocking OUTA’s involvement in the case. The court ruled against the application on 12 December 2019.

The appeal process dominated Monday’s arguments in the High Court in Pretoria, with questions raised over the legitimacy of the application, as it was filed late. Her legal team also failed to seek condonation for the late filing.

In her submission, OUTA’s Advocate Carol Steinberg urged the court to allow the case to begin. Judge Ronel Tolmay, who is presiding over the case, had in December set the case down for five weeks.

'Speculative' applications

“The trial must go on,” said Steinberg.

“There are no grounds to delay these trial proceedings any further pending the outcome of this leave to appeal application or any speculative further applications that may be filed by Ms Myeni.”

OUTA brought the case against Myeni, together with the SAA Pilots Association. They state that Myeni’s tenure as chairperson of the board saw a deterioration in governance and a weakening of the airline’s financial position. Myeni led the national flag carrier's board between December 2012 and October 2017.

SAA was in December put in business rescue as its finances weakened further.

Steinberg also lamented that the numerous delays in the case were “threatening the very possibility” of OUTA being able to get witnesses.

She said some of the key witnesses lined up to testify included top executives of major airlines, others based abroad, who had cleared their diaries and moved board meetings in order to give evidence.

However, delays have forced changes to their plans their plans at the expense of the expense of the organisation, which relies on crowdfunding.

On the other side, Myeni legal representative, Advocate Nqabayethu Buthelezi, maintained that his client was with her rights to appeal. “The right to appeal has nothing to do with Stalingrad tactics. The litigant is entitled to defend herself," Buthelezi said.

Tolmay will on Tuesday rule whether Myeni can appeal.

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