Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni was too ill on Wednesday to testify before the Parliamentary inquiry into Eskom, saying she was unable to fly to Cape Town owing to health problems.
However, her doctors may just be okay with her having late-night meetings.
City Press spotted Myeni at the four-star Garden Court hotel in Hatfield, Pretoria, at about 10.30pm on the day she was expected to testify.
She was sitting at a table in the hotel’s restaurant, across from a male companion, sipping what appeared to be wine out of a wine glass and having what appeared to by a cosy discussion.
Her car, a Mercedes SUV with a KwaZulu-Natal registration plate, was parked in the hotel’s car park. Myeni owns a home in Richards Bay.
City Press spoke to hotel staff, who said she had been staying at the hotel for the past two days.
Myeni did not take kindly to City Press calling her for comment yesterday.
“I am still ill and I am not expecting you to be calling me. Or do you want me to send you the letter that I am sick?” she said.
She told City Press to leave her alone, but did not deny having meetings at the hotel.
This was the second time Myeni did not pitch up in Parliament to be questioned by MPs regarding evidence about state capture.
Last year, former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi told the committee that Myeni invited him to former president Jacob Zuma’s house, where she allegedly discussed the suspension of the then chief executive of the power utility, Tshediso Matona, and executives Dan Marokane and Matshela Koko. In a written submission to the committee, Myeni has accused him of lying.
She was invited to testify last Wednesday, but sent an SMS saying she would not be available. In the SMS, she told the committee that her lawyer needed more time to consider the legal implications of her attending the inquiry.
Chairperson of the inquiry Zukiswa Rantho said: “We were expecting Ms Dudu Myeni, however, we have been informed that she is not coming. We wrote her a letter inviting her to the inquiry and she responded by sending an SMS to the committee’s secretary.
“[Myeni and her legal team] will look at the legalities of coming to the inquiry and will come back to us in writing. She has apologised for being unavailable via an SMS.”
MPs were furious, and demanded that she be summonsed to appear in Parliament this week.
DA MP Natasha Mazzone said: “I would request that we immediately issue a summons. Chair, I’ve been on this committee for a very long time as you know, and this is the typical modus operandi of the particular individual in question.”
Myeni did not pitch up again this week.
Rantho told MPs that Myeni did not reply to a request asking her for a doctor’s note explaining what health condition prevented her from travelling to Cape town.
MPs objected, but gave Myeni another week to avail herself for questioning. However, she needs to provide a valid doctor’s certificate.
Mazzone said this week: “I think it is quite clear that this is a cat-and-mouse game. I don’t buy this. I think we are being taken for fools.”
MPs rejected Rantho’s suggestion that the committee travel to Johannesburg to interview Myeni, saying it was a waste of money.
Myeni is not the only one who appears to be dodging the committee, whose sittings have become riveting television.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba also didn’t arrive to answer questions about events that took place when he was public enterprises minister – even though he was reportedly spotted in Parliament the morning he was supposed to testify before he called in sick.