Phumla Williams is a 'shameful manipulator' - Faith Muthambi responds to 'torture' allegations

Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
Image: Trevor Samson

Faith Muthambi has responded to "torture" allegations by GCIS acting director-general Phumla Williams.

Williams, testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry on Monday, revealed how as communications minister, Muthambi abused her emotionally and verbally.

She told the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that Muthambi’s treatment “ripped the scars of torture” she endured during the fight against apartheid.

“I had panic attacks. I saw torture going through my body again. I never thought in this government people can do such things. I was tortured for weeks [by apartheid government] and Muthambi did the same,” Williams testified.

Muthambi has labelled Williams’s testimony as “a travesty to derail the pursuit of truth”.

In a statement released just a day after Williams’s testimony, Muthambi said she was disappointed by her testimony.

"Her emotional self-serving outburst, and entirely inappropriate attempt to refer to ordinary managerial and management processes as similar to torture, and her experiences in detention, is so deliberately emotionally manipulative, that it would have been laughable if her intentions in doing so were not so blatantly malicious and informed by an irrational (almost psychotic) hatred of me," said Muthambi.  

Williams told the Commission that Muthambi removed over 70% of her duties and gave them to someone else to ultimately pave a way for her to steal. Some of those duties included overseeing procurement and finance units at the GCIS.

“She [Muthambi] was cheating the state because basically I was being paid because she wanted that procurement [unit] at all cost. She wanted to steal at all cost,” Williams said.

Muthambi – who was removed from her position as communications minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa – went on to label Williams as a “manipulator”.

“Phumla Williams is one of the most shameful manipulators and liars that I have ever had the displeasure to encounter."

Muthambi said that she respected the work being done by the Commission as it was an initiative seeking to expose and root out “undue influence on any lever of state”.

“Ms Williams may well have jeorpadised the intent and outcome of the Commission by reducing her opportunity to provide legal and credible testimony to a person, inappropriate and unjustified attack on myself,” said Muthambi.

She said she will be seeking legal advice on Williams's testimony.

"I am seeking legal advice on these extremely one-sided evidence laced with half-truths and blatant lies that Ms. Williams presented to the Commission," she said.

Acting GCIS head Phumla Williams concluded her testimony at the state capture inquiry hearings on September 3 2018. We spoke to her afterwards.

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