It was soon after this conversation that according to Maseko he was removed and replaced with Mzwanele Manyi.
Maseko said when he met Chabane, he was told Zuma had instructed Chabane to terminate Maseko's contract. According to Maseko, Chabane said he had received a call from Zuma, who was out of the country at the time, instructing him to remove Maseko.
Zuma said people often used his name if they wanted "bad" things to be done and Chabane could have done the same if he wanted to get rid of Maseko.
"Why would I wait until I am out of the country to make a call to minister Chabane. At times people use the name of the president. I don’t see why I would leave the country, only when I’m out of the country and make a call," Zuma said, adding that he found this to be “fishy”.
Zuma also acceded that if Ajay spoke to Maseko in that manner and promised to get his seniors to deal with him, then he could say he abused his relationship with either him or the minister.
In further distancing himself, Zuma said that although he was often briefed about the progress of The New Age newspaper, how it would be financed never formed part of their discussions.
“From time to time they briefed me. They [were] just briefing me on the progress they were making, not the financing,” Zuma said.