Dudu Myeni joins her close ally Jacob Zuma in being officially on the run from the Zondo Commission, after the former SAA chairperson failed to make a scheduled appearance on Tuesday morning.
“For the better part of 10 days we have been seeking to engage with Ms Miyeni directly. There are repeated screengrabs of every effort multiple members of this commission have made,” a clearly riled advocate Kate Hofmeyr told Judge Raymond Zondo.
“There has not been a single response.”
Myeni’s lawyer, Nqabayethu Buthelezi, argued that his client’s non-appearance was “not due to reluctance on her part”, but to a “breakdown of communication”.
Buthelezi alleged that a combination of Myeni changing legal teams and not reading the commission’s email in time had contributed to her no-show – a claim pooh-poohed by Hofmeyr, who said a summons had been physically served on Myeni’s residence last week.
Hofmeyr suggested that Myeni’s claim about a communication mix-up “defies, with respect, even logic”.
The commission’s evidence leader pointed out that other witnesses who have sought postponements to their appearances before the State Capture inquiry have done so via affidavits and attached medical documents.
“There is no respect in which the summons issued by this commission has been taken seriously by Ms Myeni,” said Hofmeyr.
“It is time for the law to take its course.”
After Buthelezi phoned Myeni during a short adjournment, he suggested that she might be able to cancel plans to fulfil a family obligation in Richards Bay and instead travel to lawyers in Pietermaritzburg to participate in the commission via Zoom.
Mindful that the best defence is offence, Buthelezi declared himself filled with “dismay and disappointment” at the commission’s “prosecutorial” mindset, and complained: “We have lost two hours!”
“That is because your client is not here,” retorted Zondo, who had heard enough after two hours of back and forth on the matter.
Zondo said it was unacceptable that Myeni had not complied with the commission’s summons.
“From what I have heard, there appears not to have been any valid reason for her not to appear,” the judge said.
“The secretary of the commission must take steps to lay a criminal complaint with the South African Police Service against [Myeni] for acting in breach of summons.”
This is the second time Zondo has threatened criminal action against Myeni. He previously called for a police investigation into Myeni after she revealed the identity of a commission witness granted anonymity for his own safety, during her appearance in November 2020.
On this occasion, Myeni was due to be questioned by evidence leader Pule Seleka on issues relating to the suspension of Eskom executives. She was also set to be grilled on her previous claims that she could not answer certain questions on the grounds of protection against self-incrimination.
Zondo ordered that all necessary steps be taken to ensure that Myeni availed herself to the commission via Zoom on Tuesday afternoon. In the interim, he indicated his desire to continue with other testimony. DM
British Columbia had a women's hockey team called the Fernie Swastikas. The team was formed in 1922 when the swastika held religious rather than hate-based significance.
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