Myeni’s ‘lawfare’ grounded

Delays and postponements appear to be the style of former Zuma acolytes as former South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni attempts to postpone an application that has taken two years to bring to court to declare her a delinquent director.

The case is finally due to start in the Pretoria High Court on 7 October.

It has been brought by Outa and the SAA Pilots’ Association (Saapa) and arises from her actions as SAA chairperson from December 2012 to October 2017. Such a declaration would block her from any positions as a director. SAA’s demise is largely attributed to the period under Myeni’s governance.

“It has taken years for Outa and Saapa to secure the October court date, when the case will be heard and Myeni and other witnesses are expected to be cross examined. On 7 June this year, having engaged with Myeni’s lawyers for the past two years in preparation for this case, we received notification from Myeni’s attorneys of record – Edward Nathan Sonnenberg (ENS) – that they were no longer handling this matter. We believe they made the decision to drop her,” says an Outa spokesperson.

“Following several weeks of trying to track down Myeni to establish who her new attorney of record is for this serious case, on 29 August we finally received correspondence from attorney Daniel Mantsha stating that his firm had been appointed as the attorney of record on this matter. Then on 2 September, we received correspondence from Mantsha’s office indicating that they will not be ready to proceed with the trial.

“We find this typical ‘lawfare’ tactic of delaying court appearances unacceptable and believe that although Mantsha’s firm was appointed only last month, they have had sufficient time to prepare,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, Outa’s chief legal officer. “It would be a travesty of justice if Dudu Myeni is able to delay this court appearance, all because she dragged her feet in appointing a new attorney for several weeks. If indeed this case is postponed, it will be another classic case of justice delayed being justice denied.”

“We have written to the Deputy Judge President of the Pretoria High Court to seek urgency in driving this matter to be heard in October during the allocated court dates. We cannot allow people to escape being held accountable,” says Fick. 

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