I feel like I am here for an ambush - Mzwanele Manyi tells state capture inquiry

Mzwanele Manyi testifies at the commission. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Mzwanele Manyi testifies at the commission. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Former Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) director-general Mzwanele Manyi has told the judicial commission of inquiry that he is not ready to appear before it for the second time, adding that he felt "ambushed".  

"I am not adequately prepared to come here," Manyi told commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday. 

Manyi said he had received correspondence from the commission on October 25, asking him to appear before it for oral evidence. 

He added part of what was said in the commission's memo was that he would be asked questions on the withdrawal of his dismissal from the labour department by then-minister Mildred Oliphant. 

He would also be asked about his transfer from the department to GCIS and any other related matters. 

But Manyi said the commission appeared to want to delve into broader matters, adding that it was not ready for him.

Manyi was transferred from the department to the GCIS in February 2011, replacing Themba Maseko. 

Manyi told Justice Zondo he was confused as to why the commission wanted to ask him about his dismissal from the department as those were "pure human resources matters".

He said the commission's questions should be directed at the ministers who were role players in his dismissal.

"I was a pawn in the process," Manyi added, saying he was "coerced" to come to the commission and that he came under a subpoena.  

"Chair, I am here saying that even the commission, I don't think they are ready for me but I certainly I am not ready. There should have been a bit more transparency, there should have been fairness and I should have been given ample opportunity to prepare," he said. 

"The purpose of the commission is to assist the commission to get to the truth. It is not to be tricked. Right now, chair, I must tell you, I feel like I am here for an ambush. 

"I don't want to look stupid; I want to come here fully prepared so that I can deal with matters. But I don't think I should allow myself to go into an ambush like this. For me I think it is an ambush." 

Justice Zondo said he would find a way to address Manyi's concerns, adding it was important to understand why he was transferred. 

Evidence leader advocate Kate Hofmeyr said there was no ambush, adding Manyi had sat with the commission's evidence leaders and investigators to go through his response to questions that would be asked.

Justice Zondo suggested Manyi's testimony, which will continue on Thursday morning, should be heard.

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