State capture stand-off as Dudu Myeni opts to 'remain silent' on SAA
State capture commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo spent two hours on Wednesday entertaining a tit-for-tat tussle between former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni and evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr.
This was after Myeni insisted on not answering questions related to SAA because she feared that her answers could be used against her by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should they charge her criminally as directed in a court judgment that declared her a delinquent director.
“I prefer to invoke the right to remain silent on the matters pertaining to SAA. There is a standing judgment wherein Outa and the pilots' association wanted me to be declared a delinquent director for the collective decisions of the SAA board which were put on my shoulders,” said Myeni. “NPA could possibly charge me based on those decisions.”
Myeni was backed by her legal representative advocate Thabani Masuku.
“The court directed the NPA to gather all evidence and thereafter decide to charge her. Before you is a witness who has an axe hanging over her head,” said Masuku.
“She is not speaking freely because there is a court order directing the NPA to charge her. She is not saying that she is not going to answer questions. We are not suggesting that there is a blanket right to refuse to answer questions.”
Hofmeyr argued against this, saying only Zondo had the right to assess, in every question, if Myeni qualified to invoke the privilege of not having to incriminate herself.
Said Hofmeyr: “The right to remain silent is a right that accused people have. The right to silence as a consequence does not apply in these proceedings. There is a privilege that applies to these proceedings.
“Each question will be put to Ms Myeni, if she revokes her privilege, an assessment will be made.”
Zondo ruled: “The position is you will be asked questions even on SAA. And in terms of your responses, there may be questions where you may revoke your privilege not to incriminate yourself. But the expectation from my side is that there might be other questions I would not expect your privilege to be revoked.
“From your side, you will protect yourself as you wish.”
The hearing continues.
Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni gave an impassioned speech on November 5 2020 at the state capture inquiry saying she is being hunted because of her association with former president Jacob Zuma. Myeni also said it is because she is a woman of colour that she is being accused of corruption during her tenure at South African Airways.