Acting government communications spokesperson Phumla Williams testifies at the state capture inquiry. Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha/AfricanNewsAgency/ANA

Johannesburg - Former minister of Communications Faith Muthambi has accused acting GCIS director general Phumla Williams of deliberately lying during her testimony at the state capture inquiry. 

Muthambi issued an explosive response to William’s testimony on Tuesday calling her “manipulative” and “emotional”. 

“I watched with grave disappointment, and alarm, as many South Africans did, the televised testimony of Ms Phumla Williams, which, in my view, violated the very spirit and credibility of the commission. Ms Williams may well have jeopardised the intent and outcome of the commission by reducing her opportunity to provide legal and credible testimony to a personal, inappropriate and unjustified attack on myself,” said Muthambi in a statement issued on Tuesday. 

The ANC MP said Williams did not respect the importance of the inquiry as she deliberately used it to cast aspersions on her character. 

Williams concluded her testimony at the state capture inquiry on Monday where she painted a chilling picture of how Muthambi left the GCIS dysfunctional on “auto-pilot”. 

She said Muthambi “wanted to steal at all costs”. Williams said a number of people left the GCIS during Mzwanele Manyi and Muthambi's reign and that the former minister refused to fill in the vacancies. 

The difficult relationship between Williams and Muthambi started a few weeks after Muthambi was appointed in 2014. 

The former minister complained about how she was unhappy with her work. 

Muthambi also insisted that Williams address her as "Honourable minister Muthambi". 

Williams broke down in tears as she told the inquiry how Muthambi stripped her of 72% of her responsibilities in 2016. She said Muthambi made her relive the trauma of when she was tortured as an ANC activist during Apartheid.
 
"She (Faith Muthambi) was cheating the state. I was being paid because she wanted procurement at all costs. She wanted to steal at all costs," said Williams. 

The acting director general’s testimony has been widely received with sympathy with a number of former officials and the public lauding her for her bravery. 

However, Muthambi is not happy about testimony and has responded publicly about it even though she has the option to apply to the commission to cross-examine Williams and to also give her own version of events.

The former minister said she is seeking legal advice. 

“I am seeking legal advice on this extremely one-sided evidence laced with half-truths and blatant lies that Ms Williams presented to the Commission. A very different truth will emerge, and her lies and reactionary agenda will be finally exposed for all to see,” said Muthambi. 

Read Muthambi's full statement below:

4 September 2018

The testimony of Phumla Williams is a travesty to derail the pursuit of truth

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of the State, is an important judicial mechanism to shed light on the nature and functioning of the State. 

As a responsible and patriotic citizen, I welcome any initiative that helps to expose and root out undue influence on any lever of the State, and which will hold accountable any culpable or guilty person, party or organisation in this regard.  

I also have due respect for this Commission, and I acknowledge the ambit and authority of the Commissions’ terms of reference. 

In this regard, I watched with grave disappointment, and alarm, as many South Africans did, the televised testimony of Ms Phumla Williams, which, in my view, violated the very spirit and credibility of the Commission. Ms Williams may well have jeopardized the intent and outcome of the Commission by reducing her opportunity to provide legal and credible testimony to a personal, inappropriate and unjustified attack on myself.

Because of the intimate knowledge that I have of the management of GCIS, I could not but respond with shock, (but also a degree of dejavu and familiarity) because I have experienced her modus operandi over years. Phumla Williams is one of the most shameful manipulators and liars that I have ever had the displeasure to encounter. 

As is always the case with Ms. Williams, she has once again taken the opportunity to undermine an important institution to make it all about herself. This was the usual all-consuming sense of entitlement, the willful distortion of the facts to paint herself as a victim, casting aspersions on her erstwhile colleagues, tarnishing the reputation of the GCIS and undermining the painstaking work it has undertaken under various leaders to establish itself as an apolitical instrument to further our democracy. 

This is exactly the Phumla Williams I worked with, who couldn't pass the opportunity to tell a lie - any lie - to ingratiate herself with anyone in a position of authority, and now panders to the most basest instincts of the public. Her emotional self-serving outburst, and entirely inappropriate attempt to refer to ordinary managerial and management processes as similar to torture, and her experiences in detention, is so deliberately  emotionally manipulative, that it would have been laughable if her intentions in doing so were not so blatantly malicious and informed by an irrational (almost psychotic) hatred for me. It is evident that we are dealing here with an emotionally unhinged person. Fortunately, in doing so, her facade has dropped, and the real Phumla Williams is now exposed for all to see.

I am seeking legal advice on this extremely one-sided evidence laced with half-truths and blatant lies that Ms Williams presented to the Commission. A very different truth will emerge, and her lies and reactionary agenda will be finally exposed for all to see.

It is unfortunate that such a prestigious Commission is being compromised to hear matters that, if legitimate, should have sought legal address through human resource avenues or other appropriate legal channels, when these grievances materialized, which in this instance was many years ago.

Ms AF Muthambi