Former Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) director general Mzwanele Manyi has told the state capture inquiry that he had no relationship with the controversial Gupta family prior to his move to GCIS in February 2011.
Manyi was testifying for a second time before inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief justice Raymond Zondo on Thursday.
Asked by evidence leader advocate Kate Hofmeyr to describe his relationship with former president Jacob Zuma, Manyi first laughed and said: "President Zuma, chairperson, is a very friendly person. He gets along with a lot of people. President Zuma had a lot of relationship[s] with a lot of people and I was one of them."
When asked about his relationship with the Gupta family, prior to his move to GCIS in February 2011, Manyi said there was no relationship, however, he had known about them.
Asked if he recalled being invited to The New Age friendship celebration in January 2011, Manyi said he was invited in his capacity as president of the Black Management Forum.
Asked if he has any basis to dispute what former chief director in the Presidency, Brent Simons, who said the late minister Collins Chabane had informed him, Manyi described this as an unfair question.
"The questions here is that Brent Simons comes here and says Mr Chabane says 1, 2, 3, 4. What's that got to do with me, chair?" Manyi asked.
Simons previously told the commission that Chabane had indicated to him at the time that Zuma had instructed him to get rid of Themba Maseko as GCIS chief executive even though he, Chabane, was not keen on doing it.
"There are members of staff that he had spoken to, there are members of staff that were present when that telephone call came," he said at the time.
Simons also said Chabane was not supportive of the appointment of Manyi to GCIS, as per Zuma's instructions.
He said Manyi had been embroiled in a scandal over the sourcing of funds for a private venture, and Chabane did not want someone who was going to be in the news.
The hearing continues.