Mzwanele Manyi Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The acting director general at the government communication and information system (GCIS) Phumla Williams has told the state capture inquiry that her predecessor Mzwanele Manyi is trying to tamper with her testimony.

Williams was giving testimony at the state capture inquiry on Friday and told the commission chairman deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo that she had received a text message, while giving testimony at the inquiry, from Manyi telling her to alter her evidence.

"Chairperson I got a text message from Mr Manyi who says I must say that the TNA Breakfasts did not happen during his time. I think he is trying to influence my submission," said Williams.

Zondo directed that the commission's investigators should look into the matter and that it be taken seriously and submitted as evidence.

"The legal team must apply their minds to the implications of the text message to the witness. It is something very serious," said Zondo.

Advocate Paul Pretorius, who is part of the commission's legal team, said it was an offense to influence the testimony of a witness and that with the rules of the inquiry, Zondo can summon a person before the inquiry to explain his actions. 

Zondo has asked the legal team to prepare documentation so that he can consider whether to summon Manyi. 

Williams has painted a chilling picture of how Manyi made numerous changes to the GCIS system and accounting processes immediately when he took over as CEO from his predecessor Themba Maseko in 2011.

Maseko was fired in January 2011 at the request of former president Jacob Zuma after he refused to assist the Gupta family access the GCIS budget of R600 million for media advertising.

Manyi arrived at the GCIS offices immediately after Maseko left the office and introduced himself as the new director general.

The GCIS media buying unit was changed to report directly to Manyi along with internal audit division, said Williams.  Manyi also made changes to the tender board and appointed new people.

Williams said the staff at the GCIS were bullied to accommodate The New Age (TNA) Breakfast event even though it did not fall within the department's mandate. About R55 million was paid to TNA by GCIS.

Manyi is a known to have a close relationship with Zuma and the Gupta family.

Mzwanele Manyi has denied that he tried to influence William’s testimony through the text message he sent her. 

Manyi tweeted: “Just to be clear. Phumla was relating the changes I bought into GCIS. In the same breath she mentions the TNA/SABC which in my view created the impression that I was somehow part of that. So I sent her text message to clarify that this happened after my era”. 

The inquiry continues.