Faith Muthambi sent Phumla Williams a series of hostile letters, inquiry hears
The minister threw her weight around, issued unlawful instructions and demoted Williams, but asked her to do the same work as before
Acting government spokeswoman Phumla Williams has told the state capture inquiry about a strained relationship she had with former communications minister Faith Muthambi.
Muthambi was appointed communications minister by former president Jacob Zuma in 2014.
She has been a staunch supporter of Zuma’s, and has still recently supported him in court as he faces graft charges.
Muthambi was also implicated in the tranche of leaked Gupta emails which showed she had shared confidential cabinet information with the controversial family.
Williams told the commission about hostile letters Muthambi sent her. In one of the letters, Muthambi insisted Williams address her as “honourable minister”, after Williams had referred to her as “minister Muthambi”.
Williams also alleged that Muthambi wanted her to do something “unlawful” by moving someone into the department without following proper procedure.
Eventually Muthambi demoted Williams, who at the time was acting GCIS director-general, after Mzwanele Manyi had left.
Williams said she was informed of her demotion while she was on leave and then told she had to repay R35,000 to GCIS because she no could no longer have a director-general salary.
She said she “painfully” had to look for the money.
Even after her demotion, however, Muthambi still asked that Williams help with communications from the cabinet, despite the appointment of a new acting director-general.
Williams asked to be compensated for doing this but Muthambi said no, because she was just “helping”.
When Muthambi was moved out of the communications department in 2017, incoming minister Ayanda Dlodlo reappointed Williams as acting GCIS director-general.
Williams will continue testifying at the inquiry on Monday.
The commission will this afternoon hear expert testimony via video link.