The state capture commission legal team has urged its chairperson, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, to instruct the commission’s secretary to lay a criminal charge against former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni.
This was after Myeni deliberately unmasked an anonymous witness who was granted anonymity by Zondo when he gave testimony before the commission implicating Myeni.
Mr X had implicated Myeni on allegedly accepting kickbacks worth millions of rand during her tenure as the chairperson of the uMhlathuze Water board.
Myeni went erratic before lunch on Thursday, revealing the identity of Mr X — against Zondo’s order that he remain masked to protect him and his family.
Evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr submitted that Myeni’s conduct was tantamount to obstructing the work of the commission, thus a criminal charge should be preferred against her.
“Section 5 of the Commission’s Act makes it an offence for a person to wilfully obstruct the work of the commission,” said Hofmeyr. “Today Ms Myeni breached this. Chairperson you made it clear to her that you had given a ruling that Mr X’s identity was not to be revealed. Ms Myeni then stated she had read the full transcript of Mr X’s evidence.
“She was told in no uncertain terms that his evidence will or may implicate her. She was further advised if she intended to oppose the application she was allowed to be present at the hearing.
“Against that background, despite those facts, Ms Myeni revealed the identity of Mr X, a conduct that is liable to deter future witnesses from coming forward,” Hofmeyr argued.
“We submit that you direct the secretary of the commission to lay a charge against Ms Myeni for contravening section five of the Commissions Act. It is our submission this commission requires matters like this to be dealt with resolutely.”
Myeni’s legal team asked for time to prepare a formal submission, which Zondo granted, giving them until Monday.
But Zondo expressed “disappointment” over Myeni’s conduct, adding that he felt disrespected.
“On the face of what happened, what you (Myeni) did is really something that would discourage other witnesses who want to give evidence anonymously when they fear for their safety or their lives,” said Zondo.
“If something like this happens, it undermines the work of the commission in a very serious way. I did not expect this from you. If somebody disrespects an order that I have made, that person disrespects me as well.”
Sunday Times Daily