JOHANNESBURG – Former President Jacob Zuma on Monday said on Monday he had nothing to do with the Gupta family receiving government funding to launch its newspaper and television channel.
Zuma was testifying at the state capture inquiry on Monday on allegations of corruption levied against him.
State Capture evidence leader Paul Pretorius on asked if Zuma had tried to force former CEO of the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) Themba Maseko’s to redirect R600 million of government advertising towards the establishment of Gupta-owned The New Age and ANN7.
Last year, Maseko testified before the commission, telling it how in 2010, on his way to a meeting with Ajay Gupta, Zuma called Maseko to help them.
Pretorius further read Maseko’s statement where he claimed that Zuma called him asking him to meet with Ajay Gupta.
The former president then said he may or may not have called Maseko, but he didn’t recall.
He said: “I normally called the DGs to discuss a number of issues. I can’t remember making this call.”
“But the issue of this new paper of the owners wanting to talk to the departments – but more importantly the department of Maseko – it is natural that they would want to talk to him. So there is nothing out of the ordinary, whether there was a call or no call. But I don’t remember making the call, because I made a number of calls.”
Zuma said even if he did make the call, he believed there was nothing wrong with that because Maseko was not forced, or pressured to do so.