South Africa

DAYS OF ZONDO

From bad to worse: Dudu Myeni turns State Capture inquiry into a farce

05112020 Former SAA Chairperson Dudu Myeni testifying virtualy during the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture.Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

The Zondo Commission adjourned abruptly for lunch on Thursday after former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni revealed the name of a witness that chairperson Raymond Zondo had ordered must be withheld. Myeni continued to refuse to answer questions, claiming she'd been unfairly vilified.

“If there is an order that I have made, it needs to be respected,” said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo before the State Capture Commission of inquiry adjourned for lunch on Thursday.

“I’ve got to reflect on what you’ve just done.”

Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni testifying via a virtual linkup during the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture., 5 November 2020. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni had just revealed the identity of “Mr X”, a witness implicating her in allegedly dodgy deals from Mhlathuze Water Board and a housing contract from the Mpumalanga government.

Zondo ordered that the witness, who testified in-camera, be referred to as Mr X to protect his safety. He explained the order to Myeni before she mentioned Mr X’s name multiple times on Thursday.

Myeni was testifying via video link for her second day at the commission. She is in self-isolation after being exposed to Covid-19. She continued to refuse to answer questions, claiming the right not to incriminate herself.

Advocate Kate Hofmeyr at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture,, 5 November 2020.  Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

Evidence leader advocate Kate Hofmeyr presented Myeni with testimony related to a letter six SAA board members sent to then public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba in 2014.

They complained that Myeni had grossly misrepresented herself to the minister regarding a deal to purchase new aircraft, had cancelled board meetings and had a leadership style that exposed the entire board to allegations of breaching their fiduciary duties.

A department of public enterprises report on SAA’s divided leadership, submitted to Gigaba’s successor Lynne Brown, found the board was dysfunctional. The complaining board members were replaced and only Myeni and Yakhe Kwinana were retained.

Hofmeyr asked Myeni which board members had been retained in the 2014 shake-up.

“May I not respond, chairperson, in case I incriminate myself,” Myeni repeated.

Zondo allowed her to continue refusing to provide answers until Hofmeyr objected.

Earlier in the day, Myeni complained she had been tainted as corrupt due to her association with former president Jacob Zuma – she chairs his Jacob G Zuma Foundation – and for prioritising transformation at the airline.

She said, in retrospect, she would not have agreed to chair Zuma’s foundation, from which she’s accused of siphoning money.

In May, the North Gauteng High Court declared Myeni a delinquent director for life. It also recommended the NPA investigate her time at SAA. Myeni and her lawyers have claimed she might soon face criminal charges and should be allowed to stay silent on SAA issues.

“I came before this commission knowing clearly that I am a culprit… I am a criminal. I came before this commission also because I did not want to be in contempt,” said Myeni.

She claimed the commission’s evidence leaders and investigators – not Zondo, who she respects, she emphasised – and the media had created a narrative that certain leaders were corrupt.

“I feel, chairperson, that there is a certain factional group that is being hunted. There are certain people that you, chair, might not be aware of that are denied to come and present some evidence of corruption, but because it does not suit the narrative of today they have not been allowed to come,” she said.

Zondo repeated his call for South Africans to submit evidence of corruption.

Myeni also claimed she’s being vilified because she’s a black woman.

“Chair, if I had a choice I would wake up the next day being a Mrs White or Mrs Smit or Mrs Van der Merwe because that name would give me credibility in my own country,” she said.

Advocate Kate Hofmeyr during the testimony of Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni, 5 November 2020. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

Hofmeyr challenged her reasons for claiming the right not to incriminate herself and said the privilege is open to abuse.

“I have experience of not being trusted for anything I say, chairperson. No matter how loud or how I jump it will never sink [in] because you know chairperson, we are born to be [seen as] criminals.”

Witnesses at commissions of inquiry are required to answer questions put to them and can only claim the right not to self-incriminate when there is a real possibility that it will expose them to a criminal charge.

Testimonies at the commission cannot be used in a criminal case against an accused.

When Myeni continued to refuse to answer basic questions, Zondo instructed her to respond, but she reverted to refusing to answer.

Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni testifying via a virtual linkup during the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

“Ms Myeni’s latest explanation for not answering these questions is, I submit, nothing short of imaginary and unsubstantial because they are not reasons that exist in law for a basis of refusing,” said Hofmeyr.

Listing Myeni’s reasons for refusing to respond, Hofmeyr said, “Not one of those reasons is a legally valid reason for refusing to answer a question put to her by this commission, by its evidence leaders and by you, chair.”

Hofmeyr recommended Myeni be charged for revealing Mr X’s identity.

Myeni is scheduled to continue testifying until Friday. DM

 

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Monique Martinez says:

    She should be ashamed of herself !

  • Monique Martinez says:

    There is just so much one can say here… can I use the words ‘utterly disgraceful’ without being moderated ?

  • Sergio CPT says:

    What a sick joke this woman is!! Typical Zuma poodle who has learnt from the grandmaster of deceit and corruption. Lie, deny, delay, obfuscate, frustrate etc. This degenerate breed of state-capture thieves have no shame, no conscious and act with complete impunity. They don’t suffer the consequences of their actions – look at the state of SAA today (the country too) and all the misery that it has caused. I trust that she, Gigaba, Zuma and that whole rotten gang are proud of themselves. One can only hope for long prison terms and the recovery of all the proceeds from theft!!!

  • Kirsty Hämmerle says:

    You can tell she learned at the feet of her Master. Lock her up!!

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    ANC run enterprises are a farce. 26 year, over a quarter century, and they still botch everything they touch! Only one solution, DA. Straight down the centre with a proven record in the Western Cape.

  • gorgee beattie says:

    When all else fails play the race card. This person did not mind being a Ms Menu when she was calling the shots at SAA, Eskom, etc, etc. If possible she should be found to be in contempt of court. A sad specimen- no dignity

  • Stephen Davies says:

    “In self-isolation after being exposed to Covid”. Yeah right. One count of contempt for THAT surely-untruth and another for outing Mr X. Come on Judge Zondo. You know you want to.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    “former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni revealed the name of a witness that chairperson Raymond Zondo had ordered must be withheld” For that alone she should be jailed immediately.

  • Christopher Campbell says:

    Why not jail her for contempt. That might rattle a few cages.

  • Bryan Macpherson says:

    So, the old race card is used again.
    We can only hope that like the corruption she is accused of, justice will also be colour blind.

  • Coen Gous says:

    I am flabbergasted that the NPA has not yet charged Myeni and her fellow SAA board director Kwinana. Something is wrong at the NPA. A few arrests in the beginning of October (VBS and Bosasa), and ….that’s it?

  • Gerrie Pretorius Pretorius says:

    Still can’t reply to any post?!
    @Monique – She doesn’t even understand that she is a criminal imbecile, how doe you expect her to have any shame whatsoever? To have any shame, one needs to at least understand integrity, which very few anc cadres seem to be able to do.

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