JOHANNESBURG - Acting chief executive at Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Phumla Williams, will on Friday testify before the commission of inquiry into state capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Williams replaced former government spokesman Mzwanyele Manyi who left the GCIS under a dark cloud in 2012, a year after he was appointed to replace Themba Maseko.
Her tenure at the government communication machinery has been marred by demotions and conflict with former communications minister Faith Muthambi after the latter was appointed in 2014. Muthambi reportedly centralised government communications into her office and removed Williams as acting CEO, appointing a junior official, Donald Liphoko, to head GCIS.
At that time, Manyi was Muthambi's adviser after leaving GCIS.
Muthambi had a disastrous time at the communications department that spilled over to the SABC, where former controversial chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng ran the state broadcaster into near collapse. A probe by the public protector found that Motsoeneng increased his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, purged senior staff, and misrepresented his qualifications. Motsoeneng enjoyed Muthambi's support throughout his reign at the SABC.
Former president Jacob Zuma then replaced Muthambi with Ayanda Dlodlo, who then brought back Williams to head GCIS.
Testifying before the commission on Thursday, Maseko gave evidence about the influence and control the Gupta family wielded over former president Jacob Zuma that resulted in ministers and director-generals being summoned to their Saxonwold compound to be given instructions. The commission heard how the family put him under immense pressure to direct government's R600 milion advertising budget to their now defunct daily newspaper, The New Age.
Williams will testify about her stint at the helm of GCIS after Manyi's departure and after her reappointment under Dlodlo.
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African News Agency (ANA)