Themba Maseko, the former head of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), on Tuesday said that he had told his political seniors that President Jacob Zuma had arranged a meeting for him to “help” the Gupta family.
“For the record, I did report the bullying to my political principal at the time who was equally shocked by the arrogance,” Maseko wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday night at 19.30.
Those who read his tweet then asked him to reveal who the said principal was at the time, but it appeared Maseko was not willing to respond to questions.
On Sunday, Maseko fingered Zuma as having played a key role in driving state business to the Gupta family. In a report by the Sunday Times, Maseko was quoted as saying that Zuma had arranged a meeting for him to “help” the Guptas.
According to the report, Zuma phoned Maseko directly to ensure he met the Gupta brothers. Last week, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor revealed how they had been offered Cabinet positions by the Guptas at the family’s home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, lifting the lid on the purported extent of the Gupta’s influence.
This flew in the face of Zuma’s assertions in Parliament that he had no knowledge of the family soliciting government favours or being involved in the appointment of Cabinet ministers. During a Question and Answer sitting at the National Assembly last week, Zuma said he hired ministers, not the Guptas.
However, Maseko said when he met the Guptas they asked the GCIS to spend state money on advertising in The New Age newspaper.
The family is purported to have said that they could exercise influence over ministers to buy advertising in the newspaper.
When Maseko declined a follow-up meeting, a heated exchange between him and Ajay Gupta is said to have ensued, with Gupta saying: “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you”.
Maseko was later shifted from his position as GCIS CEO.
On Sunday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters at a briefing that the NEC had instructed officials and the national working committee to gather all pertinent information about the allegations of the Gupta family’s influence within the ruling party.
Maseko welcomed Mantashe’s announcement, saying he would be among those who would approach the party with information but questioned what the outcomes of the investigations would be.
“The decision to invite everyone with a Gupta bullying story to come forward is welcome but what next? Is there a commitment to act?” However, on Tuesday he seemed more confident in the ANC’s decision.
“Gwede Mantashe’s process must be given a chance. I have confidence in the process and have decided not do interviews with the media,” he tweeted.