Dudu Myeni sentenced for violating Commission Act

Dudu Myeni, a former SAA chairperson, has been charged with hindering the administration of justice and is facing an R120,000 fine or two years in prison. This came when she knowingly revealed the identity of an unnamed witness at the state capture inquiry in 2020 who went by the name of “Mr. X.”, When Raymond Zondo, the commission’s chair, and the recently appointed chief justice, warned her not to, she did so nonetheless, adding insult to injury. Myeni was finally charged and given a court date in March after Zondo had revealed the commission had opened a criminal prosecution against him that same month.

Myeni had previously requested that the national director of public prosecutions reconsider prosecuting her, but her requests were dismissed. The National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, had been the recipient of her complaints at that point. At her most recent court appearance in June, it was revealed in a dramatic about-face that she had begun talks with the state regarding a plea deal.

On Wednesday, the Johannesburg magistrate’s court condemned Myeni, who chose to pay a fine with a suspended portion. She arrived in court late which caused a small delay in the proceedings. The sentence for Myeni comes after she declared during her court appearance on November 14 that she would admit guilt to all charges. Myeni announced on Wednesday that she was pleading guilty to the primary accusation brought against her voluntarily, knowingly, and without coercion.

Two alternative counts, one for violating the Commissions Act and the other for violating the inquiry’s rules, were included in the allegation of obstructing and impeding the proper administration of justice. Before the judge, her defense team acknowledged that she purposefully revealed the whistleblower’s identity and that this was an inappropriate course of action.

“The accused admits she had no justification for her actions and that due to her actions the true identity of Mr. X was revealed to the public in contravention of the order made by the chairperson of the commission. She admits that at all material times, she knew her actions were wrongful, unlawful, and punishable by law.”

Despite her admission of guilt, Myeni’s legal team persuaded the judge to give her a light sentence because it was her first offense and she had been jobless since 2017. She had shown regret, cooperated with investigators throughout the case, and had not attempted to depart the country, according to the defense.

Myeni said she realized the seriousness of the charge, which not only jeopardized Mr. X’s safety but that of his family. Mr. X described how his company was allegedly employed in a theft operation to steal money from Mhlathuze Water, where Myeni acted as chair while testifying at the state capture investigation from a hidden location. Myeni was ordered by Magistrate Simon Radasi to pay R30,000 on Wednesday and the remaining balance by or before August 29.

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