Former government spokesperson Themba Maseko has told City Press that president Jacob Zuma punished him for spurning the Guptas by terminating his job.
In an interview with the paper, Maseko said Zuma instructed late former minister in the presidency Collins Chabane to “redeploy me or terminate my contract” following calls from a member of the Gupta family, accused of alleged state capture.
Maseko said that the family wanted the R600 million government was spending on media platforms to be transferred to their companies.
Maseko’s allegation forms part of a submission made to a panel supported by lawyers and formed by the SA Council of Churches (SACC) to look into allegations of state capture and corruption.
The SACC told City Press that it had also received submissions from deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, who alleged that the Guptas offered him a cabinet position, while ANC MP Vytjie Mentor also made a similar allegation.
Maseko said the lobbying began at a meeting at the Guptas’ home in Saxonwold in October 2010, and continued as the family launched the New Age newspaper.
When he did not adhere to the Gupta’s demands, one of the brothers allegedly said he would speak to his superiors in government to “sort Maseko out”.
According to Maseko, Chabane called him in January 2011 for an urgent meeting. “He advised me that he had been instructed by the president to redeploy me or terminate my contract,” Maseko told City Press.
“He made a commitment not to throw me to the wolves because he knew I was a committed civil servant who had not done anything wrong. He told me he would make a plan to find another post for me in the public service.”
In response to Maseko’s allegations, Nazeem Howa, CEO of Oakbay Investments – the holding company for the Gupta family’s businesses – said: “We are bemused by Mr Maseko’s six-year-old allegations, which are totally unfounded.
“It is clearly part of an ongoing, coordinated campaign involving others to continue an already vicious politically driven attack, using the Gupta family as a proxy.
Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said: “It is unfortunate that Mr Maseko wants to drag the president into matters he thinks are related to the end of his tenure at GCIS. The appointment of directors-general is delegated to ministers. The president has no knowledge of the allegations that Mr Maseko is making.”
The SACC panel is expected to table a final report in November.
Find the full article in the 9 October 2016 edition of the City Press