Frank Chikane corroborates Maseko's worry over Guptas' demands
Johannesburg - Former director-general in the presidency Frank Chikane has supported certain aspects of Themba Maseko’s evidence relating to his meeting with a Gupta brother.
Chikane took the stand at the inquiry on Tuesday.
When Maseko appeared last year he told the inquiry how he was called by a Gupta brother who sought assistance as the family wanted access to the GCIS’ R600 million advertising budget. He had alleged that former president Jacob Zuma called him to meet with the Guptas and “help them”.
Chikane said he had spoken to Maseko in 2010 where he told him about his worry that he was being asked, by Zuma, to meet with the Guptas. Maseko was concerned that he would be asked to do something irregular.
Chikane said he was surprised by Maseko’s concerns, but he advised him to do as Zuma had requested as he could be charged if he did not do as instructed.
"He had been asked to go and meet the Guptas and he was worried about the implications. He came to ask me what to do because the president asked him to see the Guptas," Chikane recalled.
"I said to him if the president asks you to meet a person, you can’t not meet that person if there is no prima facie case against them," said Chikane.
Chikane said Maseko did give him feedback about his meeting with the Guptas. Maseko detailed that he had been asked to do something irregular and that if he did not cooperate he would be removed as DG.
"He said they asked him to do something irregular. He said he was given an ultimatum that he will not be DG by Wednesday. Indeed, on Thursday, he called me to say he is no longer DG of GCIS. I said, 'we now have enough evidence. This is the time you should now take it on'," Chikane said.
The former president, when he testified in July, denied that he had fired Maseko because he would not assist the Gupta family. The former president implied that there may have been an issue between the former minister in the presidency Collins Chabane and Maseko which led to his removal.
Maseko was moved to the department of public administration.
Chikane said it was often costly for people to take a stand and it cost their careers dearly.
He said he had met the Guptas in government events and had not have thought much of the family. He said after Maseko's revelations he became concerned.
He has concluded his evidence.IOL