Former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana and other witnesses at the state capture inquiry may have to be paid fees to give evidence for the inconvenience of testifying.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday gave the commission he chairs the task of exploring the possibility of providing witness fees.
”This will place the witness in the position he or she would have been in had the witness not come to give evidence,” Justice Zondo said.
He saw no reason why there should not be such a provision.
”I think that must be explored,” he said.
Nxasana had complained that he was the sole proprietor of his legal practice and that it was suffering due to his giving evidence at the commission.
"I see it is inevitable that I might have to come back,” he said.
After Nxasana concluded giving evidence, Justice Zondo asked him to liaise with the legal team on the witness fees payable.
"For somebody who is self-employed that is quite important,” he added.
The head of the commission's legal team, Paul Pretorius, said the applicable legislation relating to the payment of witness fees would be looked at.
Justice Zondo had told Nxasana that he would have to come back at a later date to finalise his evidence following the intervention of controversial former acting NDPP Nomgcobo Jiba’s advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, who questioned the fairness of the commission’s processes.
Ngalwana said his client had not been notified that Nxasana would implicate her.
He suggested that Nxasana should not be allowed to give evidence that implicated Jiba and other parties who were not notified prior to his testifying.
Ngalwana said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to axe Jiba still needed to be considered by the National Assembly and there was a fear that any evidence given without prior notice could cloud the Parliament’s consideration.
However, Justice Zondo said Nxasana’s evidence was not timed by anybody to coincide with anything, adding that he gave direction that Nxasana be called to give evidence.
Pretorius insisted a principle that must be sacrosanct was that witnesses must believe that they were free to give evidence whatever the consequences and whoever was implicated in their testimony.
He denied that Nxasana’s evidence was timed unintentionally or intentionally to prejudice Jiba.
Nxasana had told the commission that shortly after the announcement of his appointment in August 2013, two National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) employees gave him unsolicited information, independent of each other, including an affidavit that there were NPA employees driving around his uMlazi, Durban, hometown asking people about him.
Nxasana was informed that there was a campaign by Jiba to dig dirt about him with the intention of embarrassing him so that former president Jacob Zuma removed him as NDPP.
According to Nxasana, the plan was that after his removal Jiba would then act as NDPP and possibly be permanently appointed.