'My constitution says I can remain silent'

Gershwin Chuenyane

Gershwin Chuenyane

The IT specialist and businessman at the centre of the hoax e-mails saga is taking on the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Muziwendoda Kunene told the Pretoria magistrates' court he would ask the high court to throw out charges brought against him by the NIA. He cited that he was not their employee and could therefore not be charged by the law governing state intelligence operatives.

Kunene would be bringing a separate high court application to challenge the constitutional validity of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act used to charge him.

Kunene was on trial for refusing to answer questions by the inspector-general, Zola Ngcakani, on December 2.

Magistrate Lesetja Mphahlele postponed the case to April 3 at the request of both the state and the defence to allow Kunene time to bring the application. He also extended Kunene's bail of R2000.

Kunene's legal representative, Advocate William Mkhari, said though Kunene wanted to challenge the constitutional validity of the act, he was not asking the lower court to rule on its constitutionality, but would apply to the high court.

Mkhari said that his client would argue that the act was used to violate his constitutional right to remain silent on his arrest when the search and seizure warrant was executed at his home.

He said that the act was being used to override the constitution, which is the supreme law of the country.