Johannesburg - Former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi has questioned the credibility of the witnesses who have testified at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
Manyi was giving his testimony at the commission on Monday, where he gave evidence relating to his tenure as chief executive of the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) between the 2011 and 2012. During the period, The New Age newspaper - then owned by the Gupta family - received around R8 million of the R194m GCIS media advertising budget.
Manyi - a close Gupta ally who bought the family’s media assets when they left the country - has poured cold water on the testimony given by other witnesses, who implicated the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma in state capture allegations.
These included former GCIS head Themba Maseko, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
“People that have been here have been very poetic without producing evidence. As I sit here now, I can’t point to any piece of evidence that anybody here put on this table, but I know a lot of lyrics,” Manyi said.
He called Gordhan’s evidence to the commission - which related to his tenure as finance minister under Zuma - very poor and lacking in credibility.
“I thought, because he was a minister of finance, he was going to have tangible information and a paper trail. I sat here and listened and I lost concentration, to be honest,” Manyi said.
He said he also did not believe that Zuma had wanted Maseko to act illegally when he called him and requested that he assist the Guptas.
Manyi said the testimony given by Jonas was riddled with inconsistencies, including his lack of recollection of which of the three Gupta brothers offered him the post of finance minister. He said the controversial family was being treated unfairly.
“The law must be blind,” he said.
Earlier, the Treasury’s chief director for communications, Phumza Macanda, also testified about the period when former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was sacked by Zuma and replaced by Des van Rooyen.
“We were in shock,” Macanda said.
She testified that Van Rooyen’s advisor, Mohammed Bobat, had instructed her that all future statements she was going to draft had to go through him.
Manyi’s testimony continues on Tuesday.