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Businessman and former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi went “freestyle” on the state capture inquiry on Wednesday, insisting that he be allowed to respond to allegations made against him — and lead his own evidence.

The commission’s legal team had asked that Manyi’s evidence be postponed to November 23, but he objected to this, telling judge Raymond Zondo that he, Manyi, was not being treated fairly and was “psychologically prepared” to present his evidence.

Manyi was at the inquiry after being subpoenaed over a text message he sent acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams during her testimony asking her to change the evidence she had given.

The former cabinet spokesperson said he also wanted to give his version of what happened at the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) when he was appointed CEO, as Williams had testified that he had collapsed the established government processes and directed funds to the Gupta media entities. Evidence leader advocate Vincent Maleka cautioned Manyi, asking if he was willing to “take the risk” to be cross-examined on a range of issues and allegations that had arisen against him in the course of the inquiry. This included his actions to benefit The New Age newspaper and the circumstances under which the newspaper and ANN7 were sold to him. Maleka said they also wanted to question Manyi’s role in the cabinet interministerial committee dealing with the closure of the Gupta bank accounts as he had attended meetings in this regard with the banks. Manyi, however, objected, saying he did not come to the commission to face an “omnibus” and only wanted to respond to Williams’...

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