Former Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) director-general (DG) Mzwanele Manyi on Thursday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that during his time in the presidency, Jacob Zuma very friendly, got along with a number of people, and maintained numerous “good relationships”, including with the former DG.
Manyi replaced Themba Maseko as the DG at GCIS in February 2011 after the latter allegedly refused to do the bidding of the Guptas.
The controversial family accused of being at the centre of state capture allegedly wanted a stake of the R600 million media spend at government departments to go towards its The New Age (TNA) newspaper, Maseko previously told the commission.
Zuma allegedly then instructed the former minister in the presidency, the late Collins Chabane, to redeploy Maseko, an allegation which the former president has denied at the commission.
On Wednesday, Maseko dismissed Zuma’s denial of this allegation.
In 2017, Manyi’s media company took over the Guptas’ TNA and television station ANN7. The two media outlets are now defunct.
On Thursday, Manyi told the commission that prior to his transfer from the department of labour to GCIS, he had no relationship with the Guptas.
“Relationship is a strong term … I knew about them but a relationship at that point, no,” Manyi told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
He further said he did not recall interacting with the Guptas prior to his transfer to GCIS.
He, however, told the commission that in January 2011 he was invited to a TNA event in his capacity as the president of the Black Management Forum.
“It’s quite important to note there are VVIP tables where Gupta people were … I’m not in those tables,” Manyi said in reference to the seating arrangement at the said event, saying this indicated that he was not really one of the people “targeted” by the Guptas.