Former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni says the only reason she stopped the signing of a deal with Emirates Airlines was because she was under the impression that some board members were not yet satisfied with the deal.
Myeni has been accused of stopping former acting CEO of the airline Nico Bezuidenhout from signing the deal under the directive of former President Jacob Zuma.
Myeni has been under cross-examination in the High Court in Pretoria following an application by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) to have her declared a delinquent director.
Dudu Myeni wraps up her testimony on Wednesday:
Outa blames Myeni for the cash woes at the airline by failing to implement a R1.5 billion guarantee profit deal with Emirates and says she plunged the carrier into financial chaos during her six-year tenure as board chair.
Bezuidenhout testified that he received instructions from Myeni not to sign the deal at the eleventh hour. He was set to sign the deal and make an announcement at an air show in France in 2015.
Bezuidenhout claims Myeni told her the instruction was from Zuma, which she has denied.
Myeni says, “The collective decision rules in a board. If I knew that the rest of the people had approved and supported this, there was no way one person would hold the decision. At no point did I even get an SMS from Bezuidenhout saying, highlighting the names of all the people that are being mentioned in this court today. It was never communicated.”
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture heard that irregular expenditure at SAA amounted to almost R5 billion in the 2016/2017 financial year.
A business executive in the Auditor-General’s office also told the commission that fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R300 million in that financial year.
In the report, former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni takes the stand