File picture: GCIS

Johannesburg - The former CEO of Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) Themba Maseko will take the witness stand on Wednesday at the state capture inquiry. 

Maseko’s testimony is critical for the inquiry as it implicates former president Jacob Zuma. 

Maseko revealed in 2016 that he was approached by the Gupta family in 2010 asking for a meeting. 

He had not entertained their requests but eventually agreed to meet with Ajay Gupta, the eldest Gupta brother, at the family's compound in Saxonworld.  

The Sunday Times reported that on his way to the meeting, Maseko claimed he received a phone call from former president Jacob Zuma asking him to assist the Guptas with what they wanted.

“As I am driving out of the GCIS building [in Pretoria], I got a call from a PA from Mahlamba Ndlopfu, saying: ‘Ubaba ufuna ukukhuluma nawe [The president wants to talk to you]’,” Maseko reportedly said.

“He came on the line. He greeted me [and] said: ‘Kuna labafana bakwaGupta badinga uncedo lwakho. Ngicela ubancede [The Gupta brothers need your help. Please help them]’.”

Maseko said the Guptas wanted access to government advertising to be channelled to the New Age Newspaper - which was owned by the family at the time.  

When Maseko refused to assist the family, an angry Ajay Gupta told him that he will report him to his superiors. 

A few months later in 2011, Maseko was fired by Zuma as the CEO of GCIS and was replaced by Jimmy Manyi - a known Gupta ally who later bought the family's New Age Newspaper and news television channel ANN7.   

In 2016 when the ANC called on its members to submit letters to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe detailing instances where they were asked to do favours for the Guptas, Maseko was the only person who submitted a report. 

Maseko's claims of the Gupta family's influence followed that of former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor who both claimed they were offered ministerial positions by Ajay Gupta. 

Both Mentor and Jonas have already testified at the state capture inquiry. 

The inquiry is investigating allegations of corruption largely centred around the infamous Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma.  

It has been alleged that the Gupta family used its relationship with Zuma to score business deals with state-owned enterprises. Billions were allegedly paid out to the family in suspicious business deals involving government officials. 

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