Former South African President Jacob Zuma. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/ REUTERS
Durban - Acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams believes that former president Jacob Zuma shielded ex-communications minister Faith Muthambi as she ‘’wreaked havoc’’ at the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS).

Williams wrapped up her testimony yesterday before the state capture inquiry, detailing Muthambi’s reign after her appointment as communications minister in 2014.

She said her request for intervention from Zuma went unanswered.

“I think he (Zuma) protected this woman (Muthambi) I do not know why, except to say that removing key functions from me suited them. They were looting and they knew that I would never have allowed it. I am hoping he (Zuma) will find it in himself to explain this,’’ she told reporters after finishing her testimony.

Williams testified that Muthambi’s “bullying’’ caused her stress and panic attacks, and brought back memories of torture she suffered at the hands of the apartheid regime after she was arrested in 1988.

Earlier, evidence leader Kate Hofmeyer announced that the commission’s investigators were probing a text sent by Mzwanele “Jimmy’’ Manyi to Williams while she was testifying. In the text, Manyi said: “Hi Phumla. Please indicate that the CFO and breakfasts happened after my era.’’

Williams informed the inquiry about Manyi’s text message and the chairperson of the state capture inquiry, deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, asked that it be investigated.

“We would like to inform you that we have received an affidavit from Mr Manyi yesterday (Sunday). There is an ongoing investigation and I understand a report is being prepared.

“We thought that the investigation and report be concluded and Mr Manyi’s affidavit be included in that report, in order for the implication of the SMS correspondence on the processes of the commission to be dealt with,’’ said Hofmeyer.

In a tweet after posting the text on his social media account, Manyi said he sent the text to “clarify’’ that breakfast briefings by the Gupta-owned newspaper, The New Age (TNA), and the state-owned SABC took place after he left GCIS.

Williams testified that when Manyi took over as head of GCIS from Themba Maseko in January 2011, he swiftly implemented a string of changes which included that the media buying division report directly to him.

The Zondo-headed inquiry will resume tomorrow.

The Mercury