News24.com | State capture inquiry: ‘It is false, I did not meet Mr Manyi‘ – Mildred Oliphant on airport meeting to discuss his dismissal

Former labour minister Mildred Oliphant has disputed parts of Mzwanele Manyi‘s evidence that she met with him at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng before she was sworn in as a minister to discuss his dismissal as director-general at the labour department.  

Testifying at the state capture inquiry on Tuesday, Oliphant said when she arrived at the department, Manyi was not there, adding: “I was not even aware during briefings by the department that the [director-general] was dismissed.” 

Manyi previously testified he had learned about the decision taken by former labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana to dismiss him in 2010, although he did not see any letter of termination and that he wanted to appeal it. 

Manyi maintained he was not dismissed, adding he had received his December salary.

On Tuesday, evidence leader advocate Kate Hofmeyr asked Oliphant if she recalled meeting with Manyi at the airport on November 1, 2010, as per his evidence. Oliphant denied this.

“No, I didn‘t meet with him, I didn‘t meet with Mr Manyi,” she told the commission.

“I can say it is false, I did not meet with him.”

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Hofmeyr also quizzed Oliphant about a letter that was sent by Manyi‘s lawyers on November 3, 2010, which indicated they had already met and discussed his position. But Oliphant said this was false. She said she did not meet with Manyi before she was sworn into office.  

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“I think it is either he misled his attorneys because I did not me[e]t with him. After the swearing-in ceremony, I went back to KwaZulu-Natal.

“I have seen that letter from his attorneys. Minister [Richard] Baloyi also received the letter.”

Oliphant told the commission she received a phone call from Manyi two to three weeks after her appointment and he congratulated her on her appointment.

She said Manyi also informed her he was intending to appeal the decision to dismiss him or take the labour department to court over the dismissal.

“I asked: ‘What are the reasons for that‘, and he said it is because he was dismissed unfairly and then I said: ‘Well unfortunately, I am still new in the department, I am still getting briefings by the senior officials‘.”

Oliphant said she then asked the former minister of public service and administration, Richard Baloyi, for an advice on the matter. She said she only met with Manyi at the Sheraton Hotel, where she was booked in, to discuss his appointment.

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Oliphant withdrew Manyi‘s termination as director-general on January 31, 2011, and on February 2, 2011, he was transferred to the GICS replacing Themba Maseko.

Last year, Maseko testified he was fired shortly after refusing to abide by former president Jacob Zuma‘s instruction to “help” the Guptas with their new venture, the now defunct The New Age newspaper, in 2010.

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