Text message was not intended to influence evidence: Mzwanele Manyi
The former government spokesperson says he simply wanted to ensure Phumla Williams gave the correct chronology of events to the state capture inquiry
Former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi denies trying to influence evidence when he called acting Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) director-general Phumla Williams, saying he simply wanted to raise the issue of the chronology of events that were being presented at the Zondo commission.
On Monday Manyi submitted an affidavit to the commission of inquiry into state capture explaining his phone call and text message to Williams during Friday’s tea break. Williams was testifying that the government’s advertising budget had been irregularly spent on The New Age-SABC breakfasts.
Manyi told her‚ via a text message‚ that these breakfasts did not take place during his tenure as director-general of GCIS.
"I think he is trying to influence my submission‚" Williams told commission head Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Zondo had asked the inquiry lawyers to prepare documentation for him to decide whether to summon Manyi to explain himself.
The commission’s legal team confirmed receiving a statement from Manyi about the incident.
In his affidavit‚ Manyi said Williams had testified about the bullying of the procurement team while at GCIS‚ but did not reveal when she had mentioned who had done it.
"The lead investigator then asked Ms Williams to reveal the identity of the person who did the bullying. Ms Phumla Williams responded and said the bullying was done by the CFO‚ Mr Zweli Momeka. It is my humble contention that a reasonable man could easily understand the response by Ms Phumla Williams to be part and parcel of the changes that I brought to the GCIS since the characterisation of my era at GCIS was about changes that evidently Ms Phumla Williams didn’t welcome.
"It is at this point that I thought that in order for the chair‚ the commission and indeed the country should not be misled that I thought I should ask Phumla to simply manage her chronology of events to reflect the truthful and factual position to the effect that Mr Zweli Momeka and whatever he was alleged to have done are matters that happened after my era‚" said Manyi.
"In this regard‚ I called Ms Phumla Williams with an intention to ask her that after the break she needed to indicate the chronology of events. Unfortunately‚ she did not pick up my call. Out of desperation to ensure that there is no conflation of issues and misleading the chair and the commission‚ I went further and texted Ms Phumla Williams where I said ‘Hi Phumla‚ please indicate that the CFO Zweli Momeka and breakfasts happened after my era’‚" he added.