Mzwanele Manyi: I was not trying to influence Phumla Williams' testimony

14 November 2018 - 18:25
Mzwanele Manyi talks on his phone at the state capture inquiry in Parktown, Johannesburg, on November 14 2018.
Image: Masi Losi Mzwanele Manyi talks on his phone at the state capture inquiry in Parktown, Johannesburg, on November 14 2018.

Former GCIS CEO Mzwanele Manyi has sought to explain why he contacted acting GCIS boss Phumla Williams while she was testifying before the Zondo commission into state capture, a move seen as trying to improperly influence a witness.

Manyi told the commission on Wednesday that he had contacted Williams to help her to properly contextualise the evidence she had just given to the commission.

Manyi said while watching Williams’ live testimony, he thought the evidence leader had done with issues that pertained to him. But when Williams was asked what other changes had been introduced at GICS at the time, she complained of how a chief financial officer employed during Manyi's tenure had allegedly bullied the procurement team.

"At that point I knew exactly that [this was a period when] I was not there. I then, chairperson I am not a lawyer, without understanding the legalities, I thought my colleague has just forgotten the chronology. During the break, in good faith [I said] let me just call her to say 'when you go back can you just find a way of ensuring that you correct this chronology'. That is all I asked for," Manyi said.

He told the commission that he had felt the need to contact Williams during one of the adjournments because the hearings were being carried live and he felt that he had to correct certain untruths before they were taken out of context on social media and other platforms.  

"I just thought, chairperson, we are here in this commission to tell the truth, nothing but the truth. If I am seeing that something is wrong and I have an opportunity to correct it in real time … the importance of the real time is this: we’ve got media sitting at the back. The media takes everything in real time. They tweet it and do all kinds of things with it.

"The importance of that is that other people make decisions based on what the media is saying. One of the institutions that relies on media reports are the banks … I thought I had the duty to make sure that the media must report that which is right."