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Zuma ordered Maseko be replaced with Manyi as spokesperson, Zondo hears

This was the evidence of Brent Simons, who is the former spokesperson of the late Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

A YouTube screengrab of former late Cabinet minister Collins Chabane’s spokesperson Brent Simons giving testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry on 26 August 2019.

PRETORIA - A witness has corroborated claims that former President Jacob Zuma ordered that Themba Maseko be fired as government spokesperson in 2011 and that he be replaced by Jimmy Manyi.

This was the evidence of Brent Simons, who is the former spokesperson of the late Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

When Zuma testified at the commission, he denied allegations that he had instructed Maseko be removed from his position.

Simons said he shared a close relationship with the minister.

He said after a call from Zuma, Chabane confided in him.

“He didn’t go into the details, he certainly told me that he had received a telephone call and that the president said to him directly that Mr Maseko needed to be replaced and mentioned the name of Mr Manyi as well. He said he found that to be also a bit disturbing.”

Chabane’s former chief of staff Abednego Hlongwane recalled a comment the minister made after that call with Zuma.

“He did say that we would have to move Themba and I didn’t ask why and I said okay.”

At the same time, Simons will have to return to the state capture commission because the evidence leaders failed to issue notices to implicated parties within the required time frames.

Two years ago, Simons filed an affidavit with former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in which he alleged Zuma sent his relatives to Cabinet ministers with instructions to help them secure government contracts.

But none of the implicated parties had received notices from the commission within the required time frame, much to the annoyance of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

“I think it’s not satisfactory, the witness should give evidence with regard to the Maseko issue only and he can be asked maybe to come back later when everybody has had adequate notices.”

The hearings continue on Tuesday with evidence related to the Estina Dairy Farm project. WATCH: State capture inquiry, 26 August 2019

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