My accusations against Myeni were misconstrued because they were in English, Kwinana tells Zondo

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Former SAA board member Yakhe Kwinana testifies before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture on November 2, 2020 in Johannesburg.
Former SAA board member Yakhe Kwinana testifies before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture on November 2, 2020 in Johannesburg.
Gallo Images/Papi Morake
  • Former South African Airways board member and chair of SAA Technical Yakhe Kwinana met with OUTA soon after she left the airline. 
  • She declined to admit to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that she had accused ex-SAA chair Dudu Myeni of fabricating whistleblower reports.
  • Kwinana was giving evidence on a weekend following delays that placed the inquiry under pressure to complete its work. 


Former South African Airways board member and chair of SAA Technical Yakhe Kwinana on Saturday declined to admit telling the Organisation Against Tax Abuse that Dudu Myeni had fabricated whistlebower reports about people she wanted removed from the airline.

Myeni, who became chairperson of the state-owned airline in 2012, was taken to court by OUTA and the SAA Pilots Association in a drawn-out case that ultimately saw her declared a delinquent director.

Kwinana met with OUTA shortly after leaving SAA.

It was put to her on Saturday that during this meeting, she had accused Myeni of fabricating whistleblower reports. Evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr suggested Kwinana may have done this in a bid to paint herself in a more positive light and escape being a defendant in OUTA's delinquent director case.

Kwinana denied this.

She told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Hofmeyr that her statements to OUTA must have been misunderstood, pointing out that her first language is isiXhosa.

An apparently surprised Zondo told Kwinana that he had had no difficulty understanding her during her testimony.

"Your command of English is very good," Zondo said.

'Dudu has got her hit list'

Hofmeyr presented a transcript of the meeting with OUTA. According to the transcript, Kwinana had said:

"One of the reasons why I am scared is that I do not know the powers that be beyond. But the other reason is that it's difficult to bring a proof. Like for instance Dudu [Myeni] has got her hit list of people that she wants to remove and bring her own people.

"We've got that and how she operates… How she operates, she will go to internet café and write whatever information that she knows are correct and incorrect information, and then she will email it to SAA whistleblower from the internet café."

Hofmeyr pointed out to Kwinana that she used the phrase "incorrect information" more than once when describing Myeni's alleged actions.

Kwinana responded that she did not accept the transcript.

"This OUTA report is edited," she told Zondo. "Number two, I was never told that I was being recorded. Thirdly, I was never informed that this report would be used against me in any forum. Therefore I do not recognise this report."

Hofmeyr suggested handing over the recording to Kwinana, so that she could enlist her own transcriber. She could then hand over an affidavit to the commission with any concerns she had, should her independent transcription differ. 

Asked whether verification of the recording would mean that she had been untruthful, Kwinana declined to answer. 

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