Zondo orders that ex-intelligence official's testimony be heard in-camera at separate location

2019-09-26 17:12
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo chairs the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. (Felix Dlangamandla/Gallo Images)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo chairs the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. (Felix Dlangamandla/Gallo Images)

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The testimony of former crime intelligence member Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo - who is currently in witness protection – will be heard in-camera at a separate location when he testifies before the state capture commission.

Members of the public, including the media, however, will be able to hear his testimony.

"The order that I make reads as follows: To ensure that Colonel Naidoo who is a protected person as defined in the Witness Protection Act gives evidence to the commission, the location he has been relocated to and the new identity he has assumed are not disclosed - he will not be present in the hearing, a separate location will be provided.

"He will give his evidence from the protected witness location, no camera will be permitted in the protected witness location, an audio-link from the protected witness location will be provided, no person other than the chairperson, the relevant evidence leaders and all those necessary to assist Naidoo when he gives evidence will be allowed in the witness protection location," commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said on Thursday afternoon.

In addition, no image or video of Naidoo should be broadcast, no person should photograph or publish any image of the person involved in protecting Naidoo when he testified, Zondo added.

This after the commission formally heard an application on Thursday morning to hear Naidoo's evidence in-camera.

His evidence laid bare alleged illegal activities orchestrated by senior officers within crime intelligence, which included, among others, tampering with investigations dating back to March 2011, News24 reported.

This was presented to the commission by senior Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse last Monday.

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Earlier, advocate Rob Peterson of the commission's legal team argued the application was not about Police Minister Bheki Cele, but rather about the protection of the witness.

"Colonel Naidoo cannot be asking for an order that would conceal who he is to the implicated persons because they know him. His concern to me seems to me that the public and other people should not know who he is, that is my understanding of his concern," Zondo said.

"Chair, what you have said captures the essential object of this application, I would not, however, say that all 45 implicated persons have seen him," Peterson said in response.

Advocate Griffiths Madonsela, acting on behalf of the implicated officials, requested that they as well as their legal team should be given the opportunity to see the witness testifying.

"Chair - on the order - it should accommodate the implicated persons and their legal representative to see him as he testifies at some point as they have done so in the past.    

"If he wants secrecy, similar protection must be afforded to those who were involved in intelligence as well," he argued.

The inquiry continues.


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