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Former SAA chair to exercise her right to remain silent at State Capture Inquiry

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Myeni said she would exercise her right and answer where she can and be silent where she is able to

South Africa – Cape Town – 4 November 2020 , Former South African Airways (SAA) board chair Dudu Myeni is testifying at the state capture commission via video link. Picture SABC

JOHANNESBURG – Controversial former SA Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni’s testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture got off to a rocky start after indicating she would exercise her right to remain silent.

Myeni on Wednesday told commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo while she respected the inquiry and wanted to assist it, she was in a difficult position.

According to Myeni, the North Gauteng High Court has issued an order directing she be charged in this regard.

”I am anxious that I’m compelled to forgo my constitutional rights not to incriminate myself,” she said.

Myeni said she would exercise her right and answer where she can and be silent where she is able to.

”I always act responsibly and I am willing and committed to present myself to this commission so that we deal once and for all with also the false insinuations that have been made in my absence,” she explained.

Evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr asked Myeni about her plan to invoke her right to remain silent, pending her appeal of the high court ruling declaring her a delinquent director and refusing to answer questions put to her.

She sought clarity on whether Myeni would persist in her position.

Justice Zondo assured Myeni the commission would not intentionally and deliberately infringe on her constitutional rights and would respect the rights that are applicable.

He said there had been witnesses that had taken more or less a position similar to Myeni’s, including former ANC MP Vincent Smith and former head of the Free State human settlements department Nthimotse Mokhesi, who was represented by Dali Mpofu SC.

Respecting Myeni’s rights where they were applicable and receiving as much assistance from her possible was the commission’s intention, according to Justice Zondo.

Myeni’s senior counsel Thabani Masuku, who is assisted by her attorney Nqabayethu Buthelezi, took offence to Hofmeyr’s conditions that she could not receive any messages during the evidence and, if she did, had to alert Justice Zondo.

Masuku said he did not understand the condition as Myeni’s legal team was entitled to interject when there was a need to speak to her and that she was also entitled to consult with them.

”We shouldn’t be restricted,” he said.

Myeni is giving evidence virtually using Zoom and is assisted by a representative from Mabuza Attorneys after she was exposed to Covid-19.

She promised Justice Zondo she was taking the necessary precautions.

The commission continues.