Former cabinet spokesman Phumla Williams on Sunday declined to comment on a report that she had been demoted and replaced by a junior employee at the communications department.
“All I will say is I am no longer the cabinet spokesperson and the government communications spokesperson,” she said. “I’m not commenting on the report.”
Williams, however, would still be working in the department.
City Press reported that communications minister Faith Muthambi had sent Williams — who had been acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) head since Jimmy Manyi left two years ago — an e-mail informing her she was relieving her of those duties.
Unnamed sources in GCIS reportedly told the paper that staff were shocked when Muthambi appointed Donald Liphoko, a chief director in the department, as acting director-general, in effect making him Williams’s boss.
“We couldn’t believe that she chose Donald. The man can hardly cope with his duties as it is and now she is making him acting DG,” a senior manager in the department told the paper.
GCIS ceased to exist at the beginning of this month after its functions were absorbed into the communications department.
Muthambi reportedly defended her decision regarding Williams.
Ayanda Holo, head of stakeholder relations in the department, said Williams would be sent to help minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe with the interministerial committee tasked with repositioning Brand South Africa, which now falls under the department. — Sapa