Johannesburg - Statistics SA on Friday shot down former media owner Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi's testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry that it paid R64 million to a contractor who failed to deliver work for the 2011 census campaign.
"Stats SA can confirm that it indeed paid a service provider R64 million for creative advertising concepts and production services that were rendered during Census 2011, in compliance with all supply chain management prescripts. The organisation has complete trust in the work of the Zondo commission and will cooperate with the commission on all matters relating to this issue," the organisation said.
A confident Manyi insisted to take the stand on Wednesday at the commission, although he is scheduled to be cross-examined next week after Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) boss Phumla Williams implicated him in her evidence at the commission.
The once owner of the now-defunct The New Age newspaper and ANN7, revealed startling claims under oath, saying that he dismantled a 'mini VBS' at GCIS when he arrived back in 2011.
He told chairman Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that all he wanted was to be allowed to state his side of the story against Williams'. He accused her of being part of the corruption by the GCIS bid adjudication committee and its procurement division. Manyi added that a National Treasury probe showed that R7 million was irregularly paid to a service provider and R64 million for work not rendered, he told the commission.
"I must point out that all this calamity happened in the presence and the participation of the people Miss Williams gave a glowing CVs that they were competent and had ticked all the boxes. But despite ticking boxes, there was corruption and fraud with a lot of them implicated in that...I had to unbundle that bid adjudication committee," he said.
"All these were done in Miss Williams' empire. There were no checks and balances... every rule that could be broken was broken here. This was a monumental crisis."
Williams testified back in September on how ex-communications minister Faith Muthambi "wreaked havoc" at the GCIS, and shielded by former president Jacob Zuma.
Manyi, as GCIS CEO at the time, made sweeping changes regarding tender processes, insisting that the tender committee report to him. Manyi sent her a text while she was on the stand, seemingly trying to influence her evidence.
The former government spokesman, who is a Zuma loyalist, is accused of favouring The New Age and ANN7 and channelling millions in government advertising spend to the two companies, formerly owned by the controversial Gupta family. Manyi took over after Themba Maseko in 2011 who was fired for refusing to do the bidding for the Guptas.
Read more State Capture Inquiry stories here.
African News Agency (ANA)