#StateCaptureInquiry | Mzwanele Manyi's testimony in numbers

15 November 2018 - 08:34 By Ntokozo Miya
Mzwanele Manyi gave compelling testimony at the state capture inquiry on November 14 2018.
Mzwanele Manyi gave compelling testimony at the state capture inquiry on November 14 2018.
Image: Image/Masi Losi

When Mzwanele Manyi presented himself before the state capture inquiry on Wednesday, he was armed with important numbers he wanted Judge Zondo to note.

Manyi gave testimony in his capacity as former CEO of the Government Communication and Information System, GCIS. 

He offered an explanation for the text message he sent to Phumla Williams during her testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in September. 

In the text, Manyi said he only urged Williams to be accurate about the timing of events in her testimony, specifically the events that happened before Manyi took over at GCIS.

He denied trying to influence Williams' testimony. 

Manyi's testimony regarding the message he sent to Williams was by far less intriguing than what he had to say in response to her actual testimony.

Most of the events up for discussion at the inquiry as far as GCIS is concerned, happened in January 2011.

At the time, Williams was on the GCIS bid adjudication committee tasked with the procurement of service providers.

When Manyi gave reasons for making drastic changes when he joined GCIS in February 2011, numbers were the order of the day.

R7m

Manyi told the chairperson of the inquiry, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that Williams was implicated in the scheme that had cost GCIS in excess of R7m. 

Relying on a National Treasury report after its investigation into irregular expenditure at GCIS, Manyi broke down the calculations.

"There was an irregular appointment of a particular service provider. That on it's own cost the government just under R7m." 

He said there was a second supplier linked to the project investigated by National Treasury.

"About R777,000 [was paid] to this supplier. So the total amount paid irregularly for this project was something like R7 761,215.90," testified Manyi. 

R26m

Had National Treasury not launched its forensic investigation, effectively halting the project in question, Manyi said GCIS would have lost R26m. 

"The person that signed this payment notice was Miss Phumla Williams," he added. "She was not delegated to do this so, strictly speaking, her signing this thing was on its own, irregular."

Seven invoices

Manyi also explained how, in order to avoid National Treasury scrutiny for a lump sum payment, GCIS had paid the suppliers the R7m split into seven invoices, averaging less than R1m each.

In the course of its investigation, treasury conducted interviews with GCIS officials.

Manyi said: "One of the people that they interviewed said the issue of splitting invoices was actually common practice at GCIS."

"This is fraud," exclaimed Manyi.

R64m

Manyi told Judge Zondo that there were actually three service providers found wanting in the National Treasury's report. Two were appointed by GCIS in what treasury deemed to be irregular appointments.

The third, according to Manyi, was procured by Stats SA.

He said the duty of the Stats SA provider was to provide supplies for the work to be done by the two GCIS-appointed providers. 

"That did not happen but that service provider was paid R64m for work not delivered."

Manyi included the National Treasury report in his evidence and recommended that the commission further investigate the findings made therein. 

After seeing the "rot" at GCIS first hand, Manyi said he embarked on an "operational clean-up" during which he diverted the reporting line from Williams to himself as then CEO. 

"Every rule that could be broken was broken," summarised Manyi.

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