JOHANNESBURG - Former president Jacob Zuma told a minister to make sure ex-government spin doctor Themba Maseko leaves the Government Communication Information System (GCIS) after he refused to bow to the Gupta family's instructions, the inquiry into state capture heard on Thursday.
Maseko was fired in January 2011 and replaced by Zuma loyalist, Mzwanele Manyi, who later took over the Gupta media company through a vendor financed deal.
The former government spokesman told the inquiry that the late Collins Chabane, who was minister in the presidency responsible for performance monitoring and evaluation at the time, met with him on New Year's Eve in 2010 telling him he has been fired.
''The minister informed me he received a call from former president Zuma instructing him to redeploy me or terminate my contract. Zuma was out of the country at that time...the minister said Zuma told him he does not want to find me at GCIS when he returns back to South Africa,'' Maseko said.
He had worked in the public service for over 17 years occupying various positions at government departments. Chabane sympathised with him, said Maseko.
''The minister said he will not throw me into the streets because he knows I didn't do anything wrong. He assured me he would speak to other departments and find out if I can be transferred somewhere else.''
Maseko was then appointed director-general at the department of public service and administration, then headed by former minister Richard Baloyi. His sudden appointment irked Baloyi as he was never consulted.
Baloyi received a call from Maseko who informed him that he was appointed his director-general.
''Minister Richard Baloyi was not even at the Cabinet meeting when it was announced that I was appointed director-general. Chabane had not had the chance to inform him,'' Maseko testified.
The working relationship between Maseko and Baloyi took off on a bad footing as the former minister felt undermined for not having a say in Maseko's appointment.
Maseko was never invited to crucial department meetings, and when he complained that it seemed he was not needed there and decided to leave, he was told by Baloyi to not come to the office every day.
''I never received an appointment letter to the public service...there was no formal hand over to Manyi. He was given my parking bay at the GCIS building the next day [after he was fired].''
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African News Agency (ANA)