Did Manyi disrupt the rehearsed account of ‘state capture’ leaving Wiliams and the media in particular eNCA jaundiced?


Clyde Ramalaine

   – Disruptions usually occur where order protests a presence –

Jeremy England in his postulated disruption theory as physics asserts, “life is the universe’s way to dissipate energy more efficiently, meaning that what we see as an order is really just nature’s way of spreading disorder more broadly.”  

England’s mind in this regard, therefore, leads that, we assume the energy we employ to create order as constructive or “putting things aright,” when actually we are setting the stage for more disorder. In other words, most people look at an ordered system as the natural way things should be. That’s what opens up opportunities for successful disruption.

I thought of this as I continue following the State Capture hearings that started on August 20. The State Capture as a Commission initiative as led by some is to set things in order, at least that is the claim of politicians and those who claim to know. It is also the claim of those who want to find against others where they absolved themselves into the media crafted ‘angels and demons’ frames of our discourse. Yet while, as is claimed things are being put right, the stage of more disorder is set. Who would have thought that the angel Nene around whom a campaign of Zuma removal was led, would fall in the disorder of putting things right?

We have been listening to a number of essential media crafted ‘angels’ sharing their accounts with the explicit intent of proving the existence of state capture as a crime through the funnels of their personal experiences as linked to an ecosystem of a job. Some painstakingly and without realising painted a picture of how their presence in a specific setting was a threat to the claimed looting hence they were fired from such job.

If one closes one’s eyes and listens deeper, one will be forgiven to assume the Commission increasingly purports a glorified labour dispute resolution entity that after the fact is used as a means to hear the aggrieved in a cabinet and senior official descriptions. In a drama filled week where Barbara Hogan shared essentially her 18-month tenure as minister of Public Enterprises, she spared few as she dragged the ANC’s deployment system, scorned enemies Jacob Zuma, Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jeff Radebe and Blade Nzimande among others from the ANC and the state before the commission for their degrees of complicity to the media-created crime of state capture.

We can comfortably surmise the Commission for some constitutes their last moment to settle scores that cannot be settled in any other forum. Hogan, among other things, relates how the late Ahmed Kathrada, her partner accompanied her and was sitting in the car while she was being fired inside by former President Zuma and Secretary General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe. The issue of Kathrada’s choice presence to accompany her is used as another means to evidence a heartless Zuma and Mantashe combo. Clearly a side-show of note, we are not sure what she had hoped Kathrada’s presence should have meant.

Until now the media reporting on the State Capture Commission as relayed in particular by eNCA, the unofficial mouthpiece of a faction of SA broadcasting with unfettered space and access who muscled itself into being the official news channel after ANN7 was forced to die, would daily feed us the salacious angles that fits their ideology and agenda. We are fed Ad-nauseam the same opinions and clips of among others anchors and commentators who consciously make more of for example a Hogan account.

Since eNCA has its own scripted agenda of conditioning ignorant minds as to who really proved state capture, we must hear them defy the attempts of objectivity, because objectivity for many in the media space is a dreaded disease to be avoided at all and any costs. Clearly having no interest or appetite the likes of Jeremy Maggs, Vuyo Mvoko, etc lack the capacity to hardly ever critically in balance form reflect on the testimonies of those whom they have already declared heroes.

Until now the proverbial ‘State Capture ship’ was sailing in crafted smooth waters, with Vincent Maleka doing his job and pretty much in control of convincing SA of the media invented crime of State Capture.

Then came Wednesday, just before lunch we saw Mzwanele Manyi take the stand, yet he took the stand not in the witness seat, but in the place customarily reserved for legal counsel. Manyi showed up without any legal representation.

Manyi originally scheduled to appear before the Commission on November 23, took issue with evidence leader Maleka for seeking to deny him the opportunity to engage the matters raised by Phumla Williams who earlier shared her experiences at GCIS. In such testimony, she implicated Mzwanele Manyi as the CEO of GCIS on a number of scores. Let us not forget Pumla Williams’ account was made out to be the gospel and became a key testimony for the media’s claim of State Capture. She was passed off as a very credible, hard working and proficient in knowledge as a repository for state processes on procurement and contract employment conditions.

Advocate Vincent Maleka naturally attempted to throw a block to Manyi’s request to only engage the matters pertaining to Williams’ evidence. He even suggested if Manyi was going to avail himself now, he must be willing to face cross-examination on every issue that Maleka has in front of him that implicates Manyi. Maleka previously also argued to deny Fana Hlongwane among others the right to cross-examine, when he opted for a narrow interpretation of what the Terms of Reference of the Commission in this regard mean.

Manyi protested and said he has not filed a petition to cross-examine hence he will restrict himself to the account as it relates to the Williams submission. Judge Zondo allowed sense to prevail and directed that Manyi, for availing himself be afforded to present what he had deemed the reason for his appearance for Wednesday and be available to be engaged on the scheduled 23rd November date. Manyi was emphatic that he is ready to be engaged on the said date on the litany of other matters that Maleka has prepared to engage him on. The Chair Deputy Chief Justice Zondo prevailed on Maleka to consider either questioning Manyi after his submission or to hold back on all questions for the scheduled date of November 23. With this Manyi prevailed and began to lead share his account on the terms he had advanced.

Right here a disruption in the State Capture narrative as heard before the Commission was now being presented. Manyi became the first person to give an account on matters that he had determined to address devoid of other things that may be levelled against him. His testimony backed by reports including a scathing report from Treasury he had to fight to lay his hands on confirmed a disruption. Manyi presented his account which includes exhibits detailing a different story of his leadership at the helm of GCIS as juxtaposed to the claimed competency of those who have been celebrated by the testimony of Williams.

Manyi shared how he became the CEO of GCIS. He made it clear that it was the late Collins Ohm Chabane, then Minister in the presidency with jurisdiction over planning and monitoring who very briefly informed him that he has a choice one of two jobs either, CEO of GCIS or COO in the presidency. He opted for the first and started working based on his understanding and prism of leadership to transform GCIS from its complicated shaded visionary statement to the still embraced simple but practical statement that has survived since 2012. He shared his analysis and assessment of an entity that lacked in effectiveness and efficiency to execute its mandate. Manyi also highlighted how he uncovered the crime of corruption through a procurement system that seasoned celebrated ones could not.

He took the time to show how Pumla Willams was economical with the truth on straightforward questions directly posed to her by the Chairperson on some issues. Manyi clarified these matters and gave explanations as to why Williams’ testimony is not credible and bereft of facts. Manyi’s account poured cold water on the claims of Williams, he even explained his so-called contact with her when she was testifying seeking to enable her to relay the facts and not the imagery.

Manyi’s evidence proved damning to the media crafted so-called ‘star account’ of Pumla Williams, he came armed with documents and reports as he outlined that Williams was implicated in an R7million scheme at the expense of GCIS. This payment was paid in tranches of R1million to avoid the scrutiny of the treasury. Apparently, the splitting of invoices was until Manyi’s arrival at GCIS a common practice.

Armed with a Treasury Report on its investigations into irregular expenditure he broke down the calculations. The 7million expense raised had to do with the irregular appointment of a service provider. He also raised the subject of R777000.00 paid to the second supplier. Manyi explained that had Treasury not launched its investigation, the financial exposure for GCIS could have accrued to R26M. Manyi was emphatic the person who signed this payment was Ms Pumla Williams.

According to Manyi, Williams was not authorised to sign for such expenditure. Manyi informed the Commission that there were in real sense three service providers found naked in the National Treasury’s report. Two of these were directly linked to GCIS, while the third one was contracted to Stats SA. He outlined the duty of the Stats SA service provider was to supply goods for the work to be done at GCIS appointed service providers. He argued that this did not happen while the service provider was paid R64million for work not performed. Manyi explained that his decision to divert reporting from Williams to the CEO, was once he became aware of the rot at GCIS.

It can be argued that Manyi’s testimony caused more than a disruption to the much made of Pumla Williams testimony at one level while on the other hand to the Commission itself which was coasting along assuming their witnesses have made the case for the media crafted crime of State Capture. Not only did Manyi tore Pumla Williams’ testimony to shreds, and disrupted the Commission he equally disrupted the biased media led by eNCA anchors. We know that as much as the Commission is claimed to set things right, as its own universe it really is spreading more disorder particularly to those who naturally assumed their testimonies can only be the truth.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Political Commentator & Writer Chairperson of TMoSA Foundation