‘When I joined the struggle as a 13-year-old boy in Soweto I would never have imagined that one day I would blow the whistle on a special kind of corruption that was destroying the party and the values I had been fighting for all my life.’
In 2010 government spokesperson Themba Maseko was called to a meeting at the Gupta’s Saxonwold house and asked by Ajay Gupta to divert the government’s entire advertising budget to their media company. Earlier that same day, he received a call from then president Jacob Zuma, asking him to ‘help’ the Gupta brothers. When he refused to do so, he was removed as government spokesperson and forced to leave government a few months later.
When, in 2016, the ANC NEC called on members with evidence of wrongdoing by the Guptas to make an official submission to the party, Maseko was the only person to do so. His statement helped to expose state capture at a time when Zuma vehemently denied it and helped to set in motion the process that culminated in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
His actions as a whistleblower had a profound effect on his personal and professional life. Even today the private sector is hesitant to employ him and many in government view him as the enemy. This deeply personal and revelatory account describes the challenges faced by a civil servant who refused to be ‘captured’ and his disillusionment at how the principles of the struggle were undermined during the Zuma era.