Myeni loses Companies Tribunal bid
It took the Companies Tribunal just 12 minutes to read out a unanimous decision to dismiss, with costs, an attempt by SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni to overturn an administrative notice that shows she misled the minister of public enterprises in 2013.
It did not have the jurisdiction to do as she had asked, the tribunal found on Thursday.
That leaves Myeni to face a high court battle against the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), with that notice serving as evidence of at least one, related, past misstep. Outa wants her to be declared a delinquent director, which would bar her from serving on company boards, including the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which she heads.
In November, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) told Myeni that it believed she had breached the law when, in 2013, she told the public enterprises minister that her board had decided to sell two Airbuses to a financing company. Records show the decision had been to sell 10 aircraft. She was ordered to correct that misstatement or face the consequences, which could include prosecution.
She complied, though supposedly under protest, and as a result was issued with a compliance certificate.
The tribunal said the notice Myeni was challenging had remained in force only until the compliance certificate was issued, therefore “the jurisdiction of the tribunal is ousted”.
The notice now stands as an unchallenged example of Myeni’s behaviour as a director. It reads, in part, that she had “acted in a manner materially inconsistent with the duties of a director” under the Companies Act.
And her failure was not immaterial. For the embattled airline, getting more planes was a “matter
of critical commercial importance to the national carrier”, the tribunal said.
Myeni was also criticised during her attempt to overturn the notice. Although she claimed to have made a simple mistake, the facts suggested she could not have done so, the CIPC said.
Instead she had given contradictory explanations under oath.
Myeni, the CIPC said in opposing her application, had fallen “well short of the fiduciary and prudential standards reasonably required” by law.