Lawyer Dan Mantsha drops Dudu Myeni two weeks before trial
The long-awaited case brought by OUTA and the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) to have Dudu Myeni declared a delinquent director is due to start in the Pretoria High Court on 7 October.
However, two weeks before the trial was due to start attorney Lugisani Daniel Mantsha withdrew as Myeni’s lawyer. Mantsha had been acting for Myeni in the matter for less than a month and had tried to postpone it on the grounds that he wasn’t ready. Mantsha sent a notice of his withdrawal from the case dated 20 September to the OUTA and SAAPA lawyers, saying he withdrew “since we have no financial instructions”.
This follows the decision in June 2019 by Myeni's previous attorneys ENS to drop her as a client.
OUTA’s legal team is ready and prepared for this matter, which has been three years in the making.
“Witnesses have been subpoenaed and all matters that we intend to argue and cross-examine Ms Myeni and others on regarding her conduct whilst she chaired the SAA board have been prepared,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA’s head of Legal Affairs. “It would appear, however, that there is a ‘Stalingrad tactic’ playing out with the rotation of attorneys representing Ms Myeni and we trust the court will ensure that this case is not delayed as a result of her unpreparedness.”
OUTA will oppose any attempt to use the change of lawyers to delay the case.
Myeni has been aware of this case for more than two years and the court date was set by the court on 28 February 2018. Myeni has received correspondence on several occasions from ENS, her attorneys at the outset, and one would have expected that she would have placed the court dates for October in her diary and prepared herself to be questioned about her conduct during her tenure at SAA.
“It is our view that this country has suffered immensely through poor governance and dubious conduct within our state-owned entities by a number of people like Ms Myeni. In this case we have set out to ensure that executives and directors who were appointed to safeguard these entities are held accountable when they act contrary to the Companies Act,” says Fick.
“We trust that her apparent attempt to delay her appearance in court next week is not entertained by the court.”
Myeni was appointed to the board of SAA in 2009 and chaired it from December 2012 until she was replaced in October 2017 amid calls for her removal led by OUTA and SAAPA.