Key institutions were found to be in the hands of the Guptas, ready to eradicate those who were not going to comply with their considerably calculated strategy to appropriate public funds from state-owned entities.
The Zondo commission report released on Tuesday, reflects defining features and information which highlight
the influence and impact of the Gupta-owned, The New Age (TNA) Media, which published The New Age newspaper.
The TNA was a media house established by the Gupta family in June 2010. Its primary client base included government departments and state-owned entities.
Evidence from the report confirmed at least two categories of people from the affected entities permitted the Guptas to secure millions of rands from public funds for themselves.
According to the report, the earliest acts of state capture by the Guptas was to remove Themba Maseko as chief executive officer of the Government Communication and information Systems (GCIS).
Maseko expressed to the commission he had, indeed, been requested to meet with the Guptas, a clear instruction from former president Jacob Zuma.
“I was taken aback at the call and wondered whether the Guptas had requested the president to call me to demonstrate their power and influence in the upper echelons of the government,” Maseko said.
Following his oral evidence, Maseko said the then minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane received an instruction from Zuma to redeploy him or terminate his contract. Giving evidence before the Commission in July 2019, Zuma denied this.
The report confirms that Zuma replaced Maseko with a facilitator in the form of Mzwanele Manyi.
During Manyi’s term as the director-general of the GCIS, millions of rands were spent on The New Age at junctures where there were no trustworthy and accurate readership information nor certified circulation figures for the newspaper.