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Jacob Zuma tried to help his nephew's 'friends' get govt work - Brent Simons

Brent Simons, who was the spokesperson for late minister Collins Chabane, was testifying before deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday.

Former President Jacob Zuma at the state capture commission on 19 July 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The state capture inquiry heard evidence that former President Jacob Zuma tried to help people linked to his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, get government contracts despite his denials to the contrary.

Brent Simons, who was the spokesperson for late minister Collins Chabane, was testifying before deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday.

Simons said he saw Zuma introduce Chabane to several young men whom he later learned were being partly funded by Khulubuse.

He said he then became the chief go-between for the men who Zuma had introduced to his minister.

Simons said the young men wanted strings pulled to help them land lucrative government contracts, including for all public servants’ cell phone contracts and marketing the government’s medical aid scheme.

Chabane had told him to meet with the men but had no intention of helping them as he hated corruption, Simons told the inquiry.

“And the minister was [saying], 'Keep them away from the ministry and keep them away from me. You deal with them, I don’t want to deal with them'.”

Simons said no contracts were awarded to the men, who threatened to report his “delaying tactics” to both Zuma and Khulubuse, while Chabane assured he would protect him.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)