Former DG Themba Maseko tells state capture inquiry why he quit office

06 November 2019 - 14:57 By AMIL UMRAW
Themba Maseko during a previous appearance at the state capture inquiry.
Themba Maseko during a previous appearance at the state capture inquiry.
Image: Masi Losi

Former department of public service and administration (DPSA) director-general Themba Maseko told the state capture inquiry on Wednesday that he left the public sector in 2011 because his relationship with then minister Richard Baloyi "did not gel".

Maseko believes their relationship had soured even before he arrived at the department, after being transferred out of the Government Communication Information System (GCIS) in February 2011. 

Maseko's removal from the GCIS was leaked in the media and his transfer announced at a cabinet meeting on February 2 that year.

When he was later interviewed by former public protector Thuli Madonsela for her state capture investigation, he said he believed Baloyi was angry that he had been "imposed" on the department.

In a responding affidavit to the commission, however, the former minister said he and Maseko discussed the transfer before it was announced - and that Maseko consented to it.

"At no stage did I ever suggest that Baloyi was ever involved in state capture or corruption. To respond, my answer is an emphatic no ... At no stage did I have a conversation with Baloyi about my move from GCIS to DPSA until after that cabinet meeting," said Maseko.

"When I called Baloyi to inform him that this is the outcome [of the cabinet meeting], he did express surprise and shock. He said nobody had consulted him or informed him of this decision. 

"The reason why Baloyi was not at the cabinet meeting was because he had other commitments, so there would have been no opportunity to meet with Baloyi before the cabinet statement was issued." 

Maseko then detailed why he left the public sector, claiming that decisions were being taken without his involvement. 

"I had found the situation in the department untenable. Although I state in the affidavit that I did not have a dispute with Baloyi, the relationship did not gel - things did not work well. I attribute this to the fact that he had felt I was imposed on him as a DG," he said. 

"The transfer from GCIS to DPSA was not smooth, so when I arrived there, I just felt the minister was not welcoming. I don’t think he had anything against me. 

"I found there were governance issues, a lot of meetings which happened without my involvement. I was not invited to a lot of the meetings. I felt that a lot of decisions were being taken by the minister with my team in my absence.

"It had implications for me as the accounting officer. I’m the one who’s supposed to go to parliament and account for those decisions. I wasn’t able to play the leadership role I was expected to as the accounting officer."

Maseko resigned from the department in July 2011, five months after his transfer. 

His testimony is continuing.  

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