Former minister's staff claim Zuma lied to Zondo about Maseko 'call' - report

Minister Collins Chabane. (GCIS)
Minister Collins Chabane. (GCIS)

Former members of late minister Collins Chabane's staff have accused former president Jacob Zuma of lying to the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture, a report says.

Zuma told the commission this week that he couldn't remember making a phone call to instruct that former GCIS head Themba Maseko be fired for allegedly not cooperating with the Guptas, relating to GCIS' R600m advertising budget.

Maseko had testified last year that he was fired shortly after refusing to abide by Zuma's instruction to "help" the Guptas with their new venture, the now-defunct New Age newspaper, in 2010, News24 reported.

Chabane was a minister in the presidency at the time.

His former spokesperson Brent Simmons told the Sunday Times that he was prepared to testify that Zuma's personal assistant called Chabane and gave him a clear instruction to not renew Maseko's contract and to replace him with Mzwanele Manyi.

READ MORE: Jacob Zuma backtracks on decision to withdraw from state capture inquiry

Zuma on Monday had said that, although he could not remember making the call, he does not dispute that he might have made it.

"I don't remember. I normally call DGs [director-generals] to discuss a number of issues. I can't remember making this call," Zuma told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The former president added it would have been "natural" for the Guptas to try and find support for their new media projects through GCIS.

Hawks' Zuma perjury charge probe done

In a separate matter, the Hawks have concluded its investigations in a perjury charge laid against former president Jacob Zuma for allegedly lying under oath, the same publication reported.

The case relates to an answering affidavit filed by the former president in 2016 in his bid to prevent former public protector Thuli Madonsela for releasing her report on State Capture.

The case was opened by the Democratic Alliance after the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria delivered its scathing ruling against him.

READ MORE: Inside Zuma's world of plots and conspiracies

At the time, Zuma submitted that should it later transpire Madonsela produce a final report without affording him his right to administrative action, the report should be released, News24 previously reported.

However, in two subsequent affidavits, the former president changed his tune and claimed that the first affidavit contained a typing error and that he intended to say that the report should not be released.

The court found that Madonsela's recommended remedial actions after her investigation into state capture were wise, necessary, rational and appropriate.

DA acting executive director of communications Mabine Seabe was quoted as saying: "The wheels of justice are moving. We would also like for the SAPS and the NPA to act on other charges laid against a litany of other individuals who have misled and stolen from the people of South Africa." 

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