GCIS acting director general Phumla WilliamsPicture: Zintle Mahlati/IOL
GCIS acting director general Phumla WilliamsPicture: Zintle Mahlati/IOL

#StateCaptureInquiry: Manyi changed GCIS to consolidate his power - Williams

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Aug 31, 2018

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Johannesburg - When Mzwanele Manyi took over as the CEO of government communications and information system (GCIS) he swiftly implemented a string of changes which included that the media buying division report directly to him.

This is what Phumla Williams, the acting director general at GCIS, told the state capture inquiry during her testimony on Friday.

Williams detailed how Manyi changed fundamental processes at GCIS something that had never been done before with previous directors. 

Manyi is a former CEO of GCIS. He was appointed to replace Themba Maseko, in January 2011, who was unceremoniously fired as the head of the department. 

Maseko was fired at former president Jacob Zuma's request after he refused to assist the Gupta family access the GCIS' R600 million media advertising budget. 

Manyi is known to have a close relationship with Zuma and the Gupta family. He bought the Gupta family's media units The New Age and ANN7 on a vendor loan in 2017. 

Williams said Manyi directed that the media buying committee should report to him and that he should sign off on the processing of tenders. 

"We woke up one morning and we were told he changed the bid committee. With completely new people with no CFO, which the National Treasury recommends. During the previous periods, the processing of tenders got completed by the chairperson of the tender board," said Williams.

"When Mr Manyi came in the tender processes changed and that they should be completed by him. Additional changes he facilitated that the media buying unit must report directly to him, prior to that, it was at the chief director level. Secondly, Manyi moved the internal audit division which reported to me and was moved to him."

Williams said the departure of Maseko and the change in culture at the GCIS had a massive impact on staff morale.

"The impact was massive especially of a director general who was accessible to the lowest employee of an organisation. It was a culture shock. Within a day we found our heads spinning and no one was willing to give us an explanation of what that was all about. It did impact the morale of the staff," said Williams. 

"There were a number of changes that were not consistent with the culture of our organisation," she told the inquiry. 

Williams said there were irregularities in Maseko's removal and Manyi's transfer from the labour department, where he served as a director general, to the GCIS. She said there was no advertisement for Maseko's replacement, but that Manyi arrived immediately the same day that Maseko had left. 

"I do not remember an advert and in fact, on the same day Mr Maseko left, Mzwanele Manyi came and he asked me to call a staff meeting because he is now the director general," said Williams. 

The inquiry continues.


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