State Capture inquiry chairman, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
State Capture inquiry chairman, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

#StateCaptureInquiry: Manyi rips into Phumla Williams' testimony

By Khanyisile Ngcobo Time of article published Nov 14, 2018

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Johannesburg - Businessman Mzwanele Manyi used his appearance before the state capture inquiry to tear into acting GCIS director-general Phumla Williams' testimony and detail her role in the "rot" that prevailed at GCIS before he arrived.

Manyi appeared before the Zondo commission to respond to Williams' claims that he had changed fundamental processes at GCIS and directed that the media buying committee should report to him and that he should sign off on the processing of tenders.  

Manyi clarified his appearance related to the subpoena issued over the controversial SMS he sent to Williams as well as his response to allegations she made. 

Manyi denied Williams' claim that Themba Maseko left GCIS in January 2011, clarifying that Maseko left on February 3. 

"This is very important, Chair, because the events of January 2011 at GCIS are not something I want to be associated with. So it must be very clear that what happened, all the transgressions I am going to go through, happened long before I knew I was going to be at GCIS. 

Manyi gave details of his move, saying he only knew a few days before of the move from his position as director-general of labour to GCIS. 

He explained that late minister Collins Chabane had offered him the choice of two positions, the GCIS and the other one chief operating officer (COO) in the Presidency and he chose the former for financial reasons.

He went on to tackle some of the claims Williams made regarding changes he made upon arriving at GCIS. 

"Yes indeed, I did make some very dramatic changes and in fact, I think it was my duty as an accounting officer to give expression to the substance in the letter of Section 38 of the PMFA.

"One of the things I spearheaded in changing was the vision statement... and the 'do it now' culture. I'm that kind of person."

He also detailed changes to the bid adjudication committee explaining this happened after he realised that something had gone "horribly wrong" in the procurement space. 

Manyi also discovered there were irregular appointments of certain service providers, that had cost government R7 million, as well as a collaboration between committee members and procurement. 

"That's the situation I found, that situation was untenable. There was no way any accounting officer would left that unattended. So that's the chief reason why I changed that bid committee.

"Upon this realisation, I told the internal auditor to report this to all the relevant authorities... it was reported with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Auditor-General... after all that and not much coming out, we reported it to the Statistician General."

Soon after, both entities decided to approach National Treasury to do a thorough investigation into the matter. 

The report Treasury filed unearthed a host of things that led to Manyi dismantling the committee. 

Among these was a project R26 million that Manyi said was "stopped dead in its tracks" at R6.9 million.

"And I must hasten to say chairperson that all this was in the empire of Williams because what she had done... all supply chain reported to her, the CFO reported to her, the chief internal auditor reported to her, so everything is right here. No checks and balance, so that was the situation happening there."

Manyi's submission came after former enterprises minister Barbara Hogan's conclusion to her testimony during which she revealed how Indian airline Jet Airways pushed to have SA Airways (SAA) drop the lucrative Mumbai route so it can take over as well as her encounter with the Guptas. 

The inquiry continues on Thursday.


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