Former public service and administration minister Richard Baloyi has told the state capture inquiry the late minister Collins Chabane had approached him and allegedly said a decision had been made that Themba Maseko should be fired as director-general of the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS).
Baloyi told inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday there was a proposal Maseko should be transferred to his department.
He said he and Chabane had agreed they would consult Maseko about the transfer.
"He [Chabane] said there was a definite decision that Mr Maseko has to leave, and as minister of public service can you assist us with exit management. That is when I came in," Baloyi told the commission.
"I gave advice in our discussion. I said I personally have a problem because it is a bad reflection of our public service to have DGs kicked out at any opportunity…
"I asked if there was anything wrong that he did and the issue was 'no, there is nothing wrong that he had done … a decision is that he needs to exit', and that is the discussion, chairperson," Baloyi testified.
He also told the commission he had discussed the transfer with Maseko and received his consent.
But this was in contradiction to what Maseko had told the commission when he testified.
He said Baloyi had not obtained his consent prior to the announcement of the transfer, adding there were no discussions.
"I am quite clear that I had a discussion with him and [it] went very far … I did have a discussion with him, I am not confused about that," Baloyi said.
"We discussed even the possibility of him becoming my adviser. I raised these things with him and he said, 'No even if I come work with you, I have made up my mind, I am not going to belong in the public service, I have got other options to pursue'. That was part of the discussions we had."
Maseko previously told the commission he had received a call from Chabane on a Sunday afternoon, January 30, 2011, requesting a meeting.
He said they met the following day, and Chabane told him he had received a call from former president Jacob Zuma who told him to remove Maseko from the GCIS.
Zuma was out of the country at the time when he apparently made the call to Chabane. He allegedly told him when he returned to the country, he did not want to find Maseko in his position.
On February 2, 2011, Maseko was removed from the GCIS and transferred to the Department of Public Service and Administration.
Last year, Maseko testified 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.
But during his testimony at the inquiry, the former president said he could not recall making a call to Maseko to give him instructions to "help" the Gupta family.