Myeni’s ‘high­est or­der’ delin­quency is killing SAA

CityPress - - Business - JUSTIN BROWN justin.brown@city­press.co.za

The cri­sis at SAA has reached a “tip­ping point” that was threat­en­ing its sur­vival, hence the ap­pli­ca­tion to have chair­per­son Dudu Myeni de­clared a delin­quent di­rec­tor, ac­cord­ing to SAA Pi­lots’ As­so­ci­a­tion (Saapa) chair Jimmy Con­roy.

Saapa, to­gether with the Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse (Outa) have filed court pa­pers as part of a cam­paign to de­clare SAA chair­per­son Duduzile Myeni a delin­quent di­rec­tor.

Myeni is also chair­per­son of the Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma Foun­da­tion and the Mh­lathuze Wa­ter Au­thor­ity Board. She was ap­pointed act­ing SAA chair­per­son in Septem­ber 2012 be­fore the po­si­tion be­came per­ma­nent in June 2013.

Saapa – which rep­re­sents 737 out of 740 SAA pi­lots – this week filed 63 pages of court pa­pers in the Pre­to­ria High Court.

Outa chair­per­son Wayne Du­ve­nage said the case against Myeni was “set­ting a prece­dent”.

“We would have liked to have lodged this in De­cem­ber ... this is a thor­ough and com­pli­cated mat­ter,” he said.

The four par­ties that Saapa and Outa cite in their court pa­pers as four de­fen­dants are Myeni, SAA, state-owned com­pany Air Chefs and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han.

Yolisa Tyantsi, a Na­tional Trea­sury spokesper­son, said Gord­han and Trea­sury couldn’t com­ment on the mat­ter as it was be­fore the court.

Tlali Tlali, an SAA spokesper­son, said that SAA had been served with the court pa­pers on Thurs­day morn­ing and the air­line wouldn’t com­ment on them as it was a le­gal mat­ter.

Con­roy said that his or­gan­i­sa­tion had taken a for­mal de­ci­sion to com­mence le­gal pro­ceed­ings to have Myeni de­clared a delin­quent di­rec­tor.

“This is the first time that this ac­tion has been brought against the chair­per­son of a state-owned com­pany in South Africa,” he said.

“Our na­tional car­rier is quickly reach­ing the tip­ping point where its very sur­vival is in ques­tion. We be­lieve this is a di­rect re­sult of the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of poor gover­nance, po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence and a dearth of ex­per­tise and strate­gic vi­sion – a delin­quency of the high­est or­der,” Con­roy said.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Unions of SA said it fully sup­ported the de­ci­sion by Saapa to have Myeni de­clared a delin­quent di­rec­tor.

Ben Theron, Outa port­fo­lio di­rec­tor of trans­port, said that SAA had lost R10.6 bil­lion over a five-year pe­riod de­spite be­ing prof­itable be­tween 2010 and 2012, prior to Myeni’s ar­rival.

The losses were “not only due to in­com­pe­tence or neg­li­gence”, but “com­pounded by mis­con­duct by the board, in­clud­ing and led by Ms Myeni”, Theron said.

Theron added that Outa had in­sti­tuted the le­gal ac­tion against Myeni based on six counts:

The al­leged il­le­gal ap­point­ment of BnP Cap­i­tal as trans­ac­tion ad­viser.

Al­legedly il­le­gally ex­tend­ing BnP Cap­i­tal’s man­date to in­clude source of funds of R15 bil­lion.

Al­legedly at­tempt­ing to pay a can­cel­la­tion fee of R49.9 mil­lion to BnP Cap­i­tal.

Al­legedly il­le­gally in­ter­fer­ing with a board-ap­proved Emi­rates deal.

Al­legedly mis­rep­re­sent­ing the board by in­form­ing Gord­han that the board had ap­proved two Air­bus air­craft and not 10.

Al­legedly ig­nor­ing the find­ings of an Ernst & Young re­port de­spite damn­ing find­ings re­quir­ing ur­gent ac­tion.

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