The former minister of labour says she was not informed that he would be transferred to GCIS.
Former minister of labour Mildred Oliphant on Tuesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that she did not have discussions with former president Jacob Zuma about Mzwanele Manyi’s transfer from the department of labour to government communication and information systems (GCIS) and that she was not informed that Manyi would be moved to the latter department.
On January 31, 2011, Oliphant withdrew Manyi’s termination as the director-general (DG) at the department of labour, a matter which she said had been discussed with the then minister of public service and administration, Richard Baloyi.
“It was based on [Baloyi’s] advice,” Oliphant told the commission, adding that she understood that Baloyi would finalise the matter.
Oliphant told the commission she did not communicate with the president at the time, Zuma, about Manyi’s transfer out of the department of labour because it was not her responsibility.
On February 2, 2011, it was announced that Manyi would replace Themba Maseko as the DG at GCIS.
Maseko was reportedly redeployed from GCIS after he refused to do the bidding of the Guptas, who are alleged to be at the centre of state capture.
The commission heard that prior to his transfer from the department of labour, Oliphant had communicated to Baloyi that she preferred Manyi not to return to the department.
Oliphant said she did not wish for Manyi to return to the department of labour because she had been informed that during his time at the department, he had been disrespectful to her predecessor and because there was opposition from a union.
Oliphant told the commission that she did not sign any letter consenting to Manyi being transferred from the department of labour to GCIS.
Earlier, Oliphant told the commission that she did not meet with Manyi soon after her appointment as the minister of labour.
Manyi had testified at the commission that he met Oliphant at the airport in Johannesburg on November 1, 2010.
“Yes, I can say its false because I didn’t meet with him at the airport,” Oliphant said.
She said she recalls Manyi congratulating her on her appointment as minister of labour about two or three weeks after her appointment and that at a meeting he had told her he intended to appeal his dismissal or take the department to court over the matter.
Evidence leader at the commission advocate Kate Hofmeyr, however, said in a letter written by Manyi’s attorneys dated November 3, 2010, and sent to Oliphant and Baloyi, it is stated that Manyi had met with the former minister a day after her appointment.
“It’s either he misled his attorneys because I didn’t meet with him,” Oliphant said, adding that she only saw the letter on Monday ahead of her testimony at the commission.
Manyi had previously told the commission that at the time he did not understand that he had been dismissed from the department of labour.
However, Oliphant told the commission that when she met Manyi, he had indicated that he intended to appeal his dismissal or approach the courts on the matter, which prompted her to seek advice from Baloyi and the department of labour’s legal service team.
During Oliphant’s testimony, the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo noted to Hofmeyr that what was important about the former minister’s evidence in relation to Manyi was how much light it could throw on his transfer to GCIS and Maseko’s subsequent replacement as DG.
“What irregularities that may have been there … if they don’t throw light on those issues, there might be a difficulty,” Zondo said.
Hofmeyr responded by saying that what she sought to pursue with Oliphant would show irregularities around removals and appointments relating to Manyi and Maseko which would have allowed for state capture to take place.
Oliphant has concluded her testimony and Baloyi took the witness stand ahead of the lunch adjournment.
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Source: The Citizen