State capture: Frank Chikane backs up Themba Maseko's sorry Gupta saga

Veteran ANC leader Reverend Frank Chikane told the state capture inquiry that former government communications boss Themba Maseko told him he had been instructed by former president Jacob Zuma to 'help' the Gupta family. Zuma has denied this.
Veteran ANC leader Reverend Frank Chikane told the state capture inquiry that former government communications boss Themba Maseko told him he had been instructed by former president Jacob Zuma to 'help' the Gupta family. Zuma has denied this.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

ANC veteran Frank Chikane has corroborated parts of former government communications boss Themba Maseko's testimony to the state capture inquiry, saying Maseko told him about his visit to the Gupta family's Saxonwold home in 2010.

Chikane, who was testifying at the commission on Tuesday, said Maseko also told him that former president Jacob Zuma instructed him to help the Gupta family.

Maseko, who was director-general at the Government Communication Information System (GCIS) in 2010, alleged Zuma had instructed him to help the Gupta family in 2010.

After numerous attempts by the well-connected family to meet him, Maseko said he yielded to their request. On the day he was due to meet them, Zuma allegedly instructed him, in a phone call, to help the family.

Maseko told the commission that at the meeting, one of the Gupta brothers ordered him to direct the GCIS’s entire R600m media advertising budget to the family’s media interests. When he refused, he was sacked by then minister in the presidency Collins Chabane, allegedly on Zuma's instruction.

Chikane told the commission that Maseko met him at the time to ask for advice.

"Maseko asked for advice. He had been asked to go and meet the Guptas, and he was worried about the implications. He came to ask me what he should do because the president [Zuma] asked him to see the Guptas. I said to him if the president asks you to meet a person, you can’t not meet that person if there is no prima facie case against them," said Chikane.  

"I said 'if you don’t go, the president might charge you for undermining him'. I said 'go'." 

Chikane then recalled another conversation with Maseko after his meeting with the Guptas.

"He said they asked him to do something irregular. I said now you have the right to say 'no' because it’s about violating the law, about irregular activity. He said he was given an ultimatum that if [he doesn’t deliver], [he] will not be DG by Wednesday.

"Indeed, on Thursday, he called me to say [he is] no longer DG of GCIS. I said we now have enough evidence. This is the time you should now take it on," Chikane said.   

"That’s the pain of corruption, it costs clean people dearly. If you did take a stand at that point, like some of us did, we paid dearly." 

Zuma has denied instructing Maseko to help the Gupta brothers, or instructing Chabane to axe Maseko.

X