Former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi at the state capture inquiry. File photo: Dimpho Maja/ African News Agency (ANA).

Mzwanele Manyi has defended GCIS's decision to support Gupta-owned The New Age with advertising even though it had unaudited circulation figures. 

Manyi had returned to the inquiry on Thursday and faced questions regarding his “dismissal” from the Department of Labour and his move to GCIS. 

He had served as GCIS head, replacing Themba Maseko in February 2011. He had been accused of bullying staff to support Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper - which he eventually purchased from the family. 

Evidence leader Advocate Kate Hofmeyr was continuously interrupted and accused of ambushing Manyi in her questioning. 

"Miss Hofmeyr wants to push her own narrative of a dismissal,” Manyi said.  
 
Hofmeyr was probing Manyi’s alleged dismissal from the Department of Labour in 2010. 

Hofmeyr asked Manyi whether he had seen a letter penned and signed by him which was written to the minister of public administration in which he talks about his dismissal letter received in October 2010.
 
Manyi said he had never seen the letter and he disputed that he was ever fired from Labour. He became frustrated as Hofmeyr referred to a “dismissal” he accused her of not understanding how government works.
 
Manyi insists that he was never fired by then Labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana as he did not have the powers to dismiss him.
 
“A minister does not have the power to dismiss a DG. The only time the word dismissal or termination takes effect is when you have the consent of the president or a delegated authority.”
 
“I have no evidence of having being dismissed and the reason I said so is that I was getting paid. It can never be factually correct to say a minister dismissed you,” Manyi said.  
 
Manyi also faced questions regarding GCIS support of Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper. He had been accused of bullying and forcing staff to tailor advertising regulations which would fit to support advertising for TNA.
 
When asked whether it was justifiable for GCIS to spend advertising on the newspaper that was not part of ABC, an organisation which tracks media circulations, he said it was not mandatory for people to join the organisation.
 
He said he would encourage people to support media houses that were not part of ABC as it was run by collusion of media houses.

"You are taking a newspaper (TNA) and comparing them to a media that has long existed,” said Manyi when questioned on why GCIS would spend thousands of rands in advertising for TNA when the newspaper had a readership response from 40 people.

Political Bureau