Former Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) director-general (DG) Mzwanele Manyi on Thursday accused the evidence leader at the commission of inquiry into state capture, advocate Kate Hofmeyr of “not operating in good faith”.
Manyi told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that this could be evidenced by the fact that there were certain documents he received at a late stage, which he said was an indication that Hofmeyr is “trying to [place] booby traps”.
These documents, he said, include an affidavit from the director-general of the department of labour, which Manyi headed before his transfer to GCIS in 2011.
In the said affidavit, the DG states that Manyi was paid a salary in December 2010 and January 2011.
“But Miss Hofmeyr wants to push her own narrative of a dismissal,” Manyi said.
Zondo said Manyi’s accusation against Hofmeyr may be unfair because the advocate had indicated that there were certain documents she had also received on Wednesday and had made efforts to give copies of these to the witness.
“But also you need to remember that she was the one … who said if there are any documents that you would like more time on before you answer questions please say so,” Zondo said.
Manyi said another example which suggests that Hofmeyr was “not operating in good faith” was that on Wednesday Hofmeyr had said that he, Manyi, during his previous testimony at the commission last year had not told Zondo of a disciplinary hearing that was abandoned within 30 minutes.
Zondo pointed out that the commission’s team could also possibly commit human errors.
However, Hofmeyr said Manyi’s second example was false.
Hofmeyr then asked Manyi to respond to “four false statements” he made in testimony on Wednesday, which are that he had not received a termination letter dated October 29, 2010, from the former minister of labour Membathisi Mdladlana and had had first site of it when the commission gave it to him this year and that he was never dismissed from the department of labour but remained at its employ, while on suspension until his transfer to GCIS.
Manyi maintained that there was nothing false in what he said, saying his lawyers would have received the letter from Mdladlana which they would have used in their advice and inputs they gave when a letter was drafted to the former minister of public service and administration Richard Baloyi.
Manyi said according to the Public Service Act, a minister did not have the authority to dismiss a head of department, adding that Mdladlana had acted unlawfully.
He said evidence that he remained at the employ of the department of labour until he was transferred to GCIS was that he received a salary from the department of labour in December 2010 and January 2011. Manyi was transferred to GCIS in February 2011.
Manyi accused Hofmeyr of being “hellbent” on “weaponising” documents before the commission, which include letters from Manyi’s lawyers to Baloyi and former minister of labour Mildred Oliphant.
He questioned why the commission was “busy splitting hairs on a letter that is unlawful”, in reference to Mdladlana’s letter of the termination of his probation.
At some stage of his testimony before the tea adjournment, Manyi also accused Hofmeyr of asking “loaded” and “leading” questions with the intent of making “a nefarious point”.
However, Zondo asked the witness to “wait for the nefarious point” and then deal with it.
Hofmeyr dealt with section 13 of the Public Service Act which states that an “executive authority” – a minister – has the authority to not confirm a probationary appointment of an employee.
However, Manyi said “employee” in the section of the Act excludes heads of department, a matter which Hofmeyr disputed.
Ahead of the tea adjournment, Zondo requested that the focus of leading Manyi’s evidence should “throw light” on the transfer of former GCIS DG Themba Maseko, who was transferred to the department of public service and administration and replaced by Manyi for allegedly refusing to do the bidding of the Guptas.
The commission continues, watch live courtesy of eNCA: