Zuma's testimony on Themba Maseko's axing dishonest - state capture inquiry

The rapid removal of Maseko resulted in government communications enabling state capture.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The judicial commission into state capture has found that Jacob Zuma’s removal of Themba Maseko as the CEO of government communications came at great cost to the country.

It found that the former president’s testimony of events leading up to Maseko’s axing was dishonest.

A report from the commission, spearheaded by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was made public on Tuesday night following a handing over ceremony with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Zuma is understood to have instructed late Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane to remove Maseko and replace him with Mzwanele Manyi.

Evidence shows that under Manyi, government communications made its largest-ever monthly payment to the Gupta-owned New Age publication.

The New Age was the brainchild of the former president – he is also found to have attempted to coerce Maseko into assisting the Guptas.

READ: State capture report - Part 1

Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture Report_Part 1 by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

The only time former President Zuma actually testified at the Zondo commission of inquiry was back in 2019 and this is what he had to say when asked about Themba Maseko:

"It's quite funny. I'm not running a department. Why would I not have talked to Minister Chabane when I was here, why should I wait until I go?"

In volume two of part one of its report, the commission found that Zuma’s version of events was dishonest, calling it a fabrication by the former leader in order to avoid accountability.

The rapid removal of Maseko resulted in government communications enabling state capture.

That’s after the former head of government communications continuously refused to give into the Gupta’s demands for money to be poured into their publication.

The report also speaks of defining features of state capture in the country – this is where people like Maseko are labelled resistors for refusing to participate in corrupt activities and are eventually removed and replaced.

His successor, Manyi, fits into the category of facilitators and followers – those who personally benefited from simply complying with orders.

Part two of the report is due to be handed over to President Ramaphosa and is expected to be made public at the end of January.

WATCH: SAA, Sars & TNA feature in part one of state capture report