Former South Africa Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni has told the Pretoria High Court that she was not the only one making decisions at the struggling airline.
Myeni on Thursday appeared in court to testify in defense of herself against a delinquency application brought against her by Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa). It aimed at preventing her from holding a director position again.
“If I had issues at SAA, the board as a collective will take a decision. I never took a decision alone,” she told the court.
She said although the case of delinquency had been laid against her alone, she was in court to represent all board members who served under her chairpersonship.
“There is no decision that is not a collective decision in the leadership of any entity,” she said.
She also denied ever discussing matters of SAA with former president Jacob Zuma. She said even though she served the Jacob Zuma Foundation as its chairperson, the protocol did not allow her to discuss matters of the State entity with Zuma.
She said her appointment as the chairperson of SAA did not have anything to do with Zuma or her being the chairperson of his foundation.
She said she applied for the position after seeing an advert in the paper. She said she was then referred to a Department of Public Enterprise’s director-general, whose name she could not recall.
“I was asked for a brief interview, which was a normal process. I was asked to submit my curriculum vitae, which I did,” she said.
She added that she was shortlisted by then public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan. After she had been shortlisted she was also told that the process should be finalized by the Cabinet because of SAA’s size.
“I then got to hear that our names were read in Parliament as the people that were shortlisted at the beginning of 2009, and I was among those people,” she said.
She said it was untrue that Zuma had seconded or recommended that she be appointed to serve on the board. She said she had sat on a number of boards, including the Jacob Zuma Foundation and Absa board.
She recalled a particular day where she attended a meeting of the foundation to “report to the patron (Zuma) of the foundation on issues to be discussed at a foundation meeting”.
She said she called Zuma’s personal assistant who then “fortunately” passed the phone to Zuma who was in Cape Town.
“Of particular interest to me was when he asked me ‘Is your other name Cynthia?’ I took particular interest as to why he would call me Cynthia, where does this come from because I do not like the name.
“But then I said ‘Yes my other given name is Cynthia”, he laughed.
“Then he said ‘I heard the name Duduzile Cynthia Myeni being read in the Cabinet’.
“That is how he (Zuma) got to know about my appointment. He had no contribution,” she said.