As cross-examining got underway at the Zondo Commission, the main witness Dudu Myeni would only concede to answering one question about her educational qualifications.
The rigmarole around what Myeni, who is the former SAA chairperson would respond to began in the morning. Through her lawyers and testifying herself via video, Myeni stated she would not respond to any queries around the state airline.
This was because she was implicated by OUTA in a previous court judgement which eventually declared her a delinquent director for life. Myeni spoke as if the judgement was pending, indicating she would likely challenge that decision.
Answers given to SAA related testimony could also be used against her by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as there was an investigation underway, said Myeni.
As evidence leader Adv Kate Hofmeyr rattled through questions around her background, past experience and knowledge of financial acts, Myeni declined to answer each one.
“I am exercising my right to not incriminate myself,” Myeni said to nearly every question.
Then the matter of Myeni’s educational qualifications came up. Hofmeyr referred to a document prepared by the department of public enterprises in introducing Myeni as the chairperson of SAA in 2012. The chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation was listed as having a Bachelor of Administration degree. However, Myeni said that was not in her CV adding she would evoke her privilege of not answering.
Hofmeyr noted Myeni had offered to give the commission her CV while not responding to the issue of the degree.
“You can’t say you can give the CV then say it will incriminate you,” Hofmeyr quipped.
“I’m being asked about a document that was been prepared by somebody else. I’m not being asked about a document that I prepared,” Myeni retorted.
Judge Ray Zondo then said the earlier question Hofmeyr asked was about what was in the document.
“A moment ago you said you declined to answer a question because it would incriminate you then said you would provide, those two propositions cannot live side by side.
“Would it incriminate you?” Hofmeyr asked.
“I’m not going to answer in case it incriminates me,” Myeni said.
I don’t want you to incriminate yourself dear South African but should you bailout #SAA previously led Ms #DuduMyeni for R10.5 billion at the expense of education, health & safety?#StateCaptureInquiry
— Tim Modise (@TimModise) November 4, 2020
Later, after Zondo asked her again if she has a Bachelor of administration degree, Myeni had a change of heart and finally cracked.
“In my CV chairperson it’s very explicit, I studied it, I didn’t complete it. I did two years of that particular degree. It’s very explicit and says the reasons that caused me not to do my majors,” said Myeni.
Hofmeyr then questioned why Myeni would include the qualification in her CV if she didn’t complete it.
“Have you in all your years in corporate ever seen people who list qualifications that they don’t have?” asked Hofmeyr.
This elicited a rant from Myeni who became visibly emotional, her voice shaking as she responded.
“By whose standard ma’am are you asking me that question? I have never seen people’s CVs that a person will write a CV this way because this one has written it this way.
“I have written mine in my own way and in my own standard that I have preferred to do it…Because my focus is dealing with poverty, inequality and all the other problems facing me as a woman leader. I have never had an opportunity to study other people’s CVs so that I can write it that way.
“My CV is written according to my own standard because I didn’t know if there is a certain standard I should emulate and copy… My apologies if it is a crime that I studied at UKZN, it is a big achievement for a black woman to study after marriage. It is an inspiration for any other woman,” said Myeni.
She concluded that the issue of her qualifications were not in the commission’s letter to her. Myeni’s testimony is expected to conclude in less than the three days which were set aside for her by the commission.
#DuduMyeni’s conduct at the #ZondoCommission is a disgrace, but it was to be expected. She and her ilk were coddled, like brats, in a system that guaranteed impunity. Big ups to Judge Zondo for staying calm and patient in the face of so much arrogance and entitlement.
— Pieter-Louis Myburgh (@PLMyburgh) November 4, 2020