Ahead of the lunch break on Thursday, Myeni blurted out Mr X’s surname and claimed that he was “a family member”.
After the lunch break, commission chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said Myeni’s transgression was “quite serious”.
The commission’s evidence leader, Kate Hofmeyr, said Myeni had been in breach of Section 5 of the Commissions Act and the commission’s regulation 12.
Hofmeyr submitted that for the commission to carry out its duties, witnesses needed to come forward with relevant information even when they feared for their lives, so they can testify under conditions of anonymity.
Hofmeyr said Myeni made the breach even after Zondo had explained why he made the order that Mr X’s identity should be withheld, and pointed out that she, Myeni, indicated that she had read in full the transcript of the day Zondo made the order.
Hofmeyr further submitted that the day before Mr X testified at the commission on 17 February, she was notified of his appearance before Zondo, and the application for his identity to be withheld and his testimony to be heard in camera.
Hofmeyr added that it was explained to Myeni that she could oppose the application and file her own but “despite those facts”, Myeni revealed Mr X’s identity, which Hofmeyr said was wilful obstruction and disrespect to the commission which “will send a chill over these proceedings” and “will deter future whistleblowers”.
Hofmeyr said for this transgression, Myeni should be charged “so that justice can take its course”, adding that Myeni’s explanation or expression of regret for her breach should be a matter reserved for her criminal charge should the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided to charge her.
Nqabayethu Buthelezi, for Myeni, said a formal submission would be made and agreed with Zondo’s suggestion that the formal submission should be made by 9 November 2020, 10 am.
Zondo said Myeni’s breach “would discourage other witnesses who would want to give evidence anonymously”.
“Now if something like this happens and happens right in the commission it undermines the work of the commission in a very serious way, to say the least. I am disappointed you did this,” Zondo said, adding: “I didn’t expect this from you.”
Zondo said he was under the impression that Myeni respected the commission, adding that if an order he has made is disrespected that means that person has disrespected him.
Zondo urged the media and all those who heard Myeni to abstain from disseminating Mr X’s name.
“So, that order [to withhold Mr X’s identity] continues to stand,” Zondo said.