Zuma's testimony over Chabane's reasons to remove me 'untrue' – Maseko

‘There was no incident that could have prompted him to decide that I should move’

State Capture Inquiry: Zuma's testimony over Collins Chabane's reasons to remove me 'untrue' - Maseko

6 November 2019

Former Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) director general Themba Maseko says former president Jacob Zuma's testimony before the Zondo commission, that there was an "issue" between him and late Minister Collins Chabane leading to his termination, was "untrue".

Testifying for the second time before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, Maseko said: "I think what the former president says in his oral evidence is untrue. There was never an issue between me and minister Chabane.

"We had a solid relationship and the way Minister Chabane conveyed the message to me demonstrated that in fact he was shocked by the turn of events."

Maseko told the commission that he received a call from Chabane on a Sunday afternoon, January 30, 2011 requesting a meeting.

He said they met the following day and Chabane told him that he received a call from the former president who told him to remove Maseko from GCIS.

'Help' the Guptas

Asked if he remembered whether Zuma was furious when he instructed Chabane to remove him, Maseko said he got a "sense" from Chabane that Zuma did not give him an option.

"Mr Chabane had no basis, had no reason, or there was no incident that could have prompted him to decide that I should move," Maseko said.

On February 2, 2011, Maseko was removed from GCIS and transferred to the department of public service and administration.

Evidence leader advocate Kate Hofmeyr said she was informed by the Presidency on Tuesday evening that the Cabinet minutes of February 2, 2011 had been considered and that there was no reference anywhere in those minutes to the transfer of Maseko.

Maseko had testified last year that he was fired shortly after refusing to abide by Zuma's instruction to "help" the Guptas with their new venture, the now-defunct New Age newspaper, in 2010.

But during his testimony at the inquiry, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the former president said he could not recall making a call to Maseko to give him instructions to "help" the Gupta family.

"I don't remember. I normally call DGs [directors general] to discuss a number of issues. I can't remember making this call," he said at the time.

Zuma said, although he could not remember making the call, he did not dispute that he might have made it.

The former president added it would have been "natural" for the Guptas to find support for their projects.

Zuma also said he never instructed Chabane to remove Maseko from GCIS, adding that it was in fact Chabane who asked that Maseko be transferred from GCIS.

"I think there was an issue between them," Zuma said.