Former head of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Themba Maseko at the state capture inquiry. Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha/AfricanNewsAgency/ANA
Former head of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Themba Maseko at the state capture inquiry. Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha/AfricanNewsAgency/ANA

Themba Maseko contradicts Zuma on removal from GCIS

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Nov 6, 2019

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Johannesburg - Former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko has contradicted former president Jacob Zuma's testimony on why he was suddenly removed from the helm of the government agency to another government department. 

Maseko returned to the inquiry on Wednesday. He first appeared last year and detailed how he was removed from GCIS because he would not assist the Gupta family to access government advertising spend. 

Last year he told the commission that he had been approached by Ajay Gupta who shared his newspaper's (The New Age) interest in accessing advertising spend which stood at R600 million. 

He said he fought off attempts and had even been called by Zuma before his meeting with Gupta. Zuma, according to Maseko, indicated that Maseko should help the Guptas. 

Maseko also testified that former minister in the president Collins Chabane had approached him in late January 2011 and informed him that Zuma wanted him out as the head of GCIS. 

He said Chabane felt bad and had promised that he would not leave him hanging without a job. 

When Zuma appeared at the inquiry in July this year, he denied instructing Chabane to dismiss Maseko. He alluded to the fact there may have been a troubled relationship between Maseko and Chabane that could have led to him being removed. 

Maseko denied this and said Zuma was being untruthful in his statement. 

“I think what the former president says in his oral evidence is untrue. There was never an issue between myself and Chabane. We had a very solid relationship and the way he conveyed the message to me indicated that he was shocked by the turn of events,” Maseko said.  

Zuma had also told the inquiry that the decision to remove Maseko had been discussed in a cabinet meeting held in February. 

Evidence leader for the commission Advocate Kate Hofyemr said through the commission's investigation the presidency had supplied it with a cabinet memo from the February 2 meeting. 

Hofmeyr said the memorandum shows that the issue of removing Maseko was never discussed at the meeting. 

Maseko also agreed and said he was present at the meeting and the only time the issue of his removal came up was towards the end of the meeting when Chabane made the announcement. 

 "On February 2, 2011, Cabinet meeting I was present an announcement was made by Mr Chabane and there was no discussion and it was done at the end of the meeting as Mr Zuma requested that Mr Chabane make an announcement. It was an announcement, there was no discussion," Maseko said. 

Maseko was removed from GCIS and transfer to the department of public administration. He only lasted three in his new job. 

The commission continues and will hear evidence from former GCIS head Mzwanele Manyi. 

Manyi replaced Maseko as the head of GCIS in 2011. He was accused of doing the Guptas' bidding by channelling advertising spend to TNA. Manyi bought TNA from the Guptas and ran it briefly before it was shut down. 

Political Bureau

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