Acting government communications spokesperson Phumla Williams testifies at the state capture inquiry. She replaced Mzwanyele Manyi, who left GCIS a year after he was appointed to replace Themba Maseko. Nokuthula Mbatha AfricanNewsAgency/ANA

Johannesburg - The acting director-general at GCIS Phumla Williams believes former president Jacob Zuma protected former minister Faith Muthambi as she wreaked havoc and "looted" at the GCIS.

Williams, who concluded her testimony at the state capture inquiry on Monday, said she wants answers from Muthambi on why she tormented her and left the GCIS dysfunctional and on "auto-pilot".

The government spokesperson detailed how things turned bad shortly after Muthambi was appointed as communications minister in 2014 and the GCIS was mandated to report to her. 

Williams said a number of people left the GCIS during Manyi and Muthambi's reign and that the former minister refused to fill in the vacancies. 

The difficult relationship between Williams and Muthambi started a few weeks after Muthambi was appointed. 

The former minister complained about how she was unhappy with her work. 

Muthambi also insisted that Williams address her as "Honourable minister Muthambi". 

She broke down in tears as she told the inquiry how Muthambi stripped her of 72% of her responsibilities in 2016. She said Muthambi made her relive the trauma of when she was tortured as an ANC activist during Apartheid. 

"She (Faith Muthambi) was cheating the State I was being paid because she wanted procurement at all costs. She wanted to steal at all costs," said Williams. 

Williams said the most painful experience was that former president Zuma knew how she was being treated by Muthambi and did nothing. 

"What is so painful is that president Zuma knows what I went through. He knows exactly my pain of torture. So I do not understand why he kept quiet and did not intervene. I was going through torture and it was a joke to them saying 'yea we have sorted her out'," said Williams at the sidelines of the inquiry.  

"I do not have an idea (why Zuma was protecting Muthambi) except to say the things that she did in removing finance were completely looting without me knowing. It suited them because they knew I would have not allowed it," said Williams. 

Acting government communications spokesperson Phumla Williams speaks at the state capture inquiry. Video: Zintle Mahlati/IOL.

She said she wants answers from Muthambi and hopes she will come to the inquiry and testify on why she almost drove the GCIS to the ground. 

"I hope she does (testify) because I want to know what was going on," she said.  

Williams said she was afraid to testify, but said she hopes her speaking out will help her move on from the trauma. 

"I am hoping it is going to help me to move on. I am not going to even lie I still have these nightmares and Muthambi is gone now I have to deal with them. I do not want to take tablets because that is how I ended up taking drugs. I am taking the view that maybe it should be this raw because this is what they did to our country.

"The commission is going to help us for the future of our children because we cannot have a situation like this that people think that can just destroy what we have worked so hard to put in place," she said. 

The inquiry continues.

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