Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to appear before the Zondo commission in Johannesburg on July 15 2019. Picture: REUTERS/WIKUS DE WET
Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to appear before the Zondo commission in Johannesburg on July 15 2019. Picture: REUTERS/WIKUS DE WET

Former president Jacob Zuma says he has a problem with the term “state capture”, which he says is an exaggeration used to enhance a narrative against him. 

Addressing the state capture commission on Monday for the first time, Zuma said investigations into his involvement in the multibillion-rand arms deal, former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into upgrades at his Nkandla home and her state of capture report were also all part of this plan to discredit him. 

Without mentioning any names, Zuma alleged that there were even spies within the ANC who were working with intelligence organisations to remove him. 

“All these things put together tell me there is a huge plan which has been made and … implemented,” Zuma said. 

He said the state was made up of three arms — parliament, the judiciary and the executive — and that if people refer to the state capture they are saying all three have been compromised.

The former president said the state capture commission was established to be “the grave of Zuma”. 

“It’s an exaggeration. It is to enhance this narrative against Zuma,” he said.

Previous witnesses at the inquiry, such as former Government Communication and Information System head Themba Maseko, former ministers Barbara Hogan, Nhlanhla Nene, Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Pravin Gordhan, as well as former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and former Ramatlhodi adviser Mahlodi Muofhe, have implicated Zuma directly or indirectly in state capture.

Despite this, Zuma said he is still waiting for someone to come forward with real evidence against him.

He said no-one could say what he had done wrong, only that he is corrupt.

“Of all the presidents who have been before me, there isn’t a single one that has been brought to a commission. But to Zuma we must do it,” he said.

This was despite former president Thabo Mbeki previously appearing before the Seriti commission into the arms deal. 

Zuma told the inquiry he had listened to what some witnesses have said. 

Referring Ramatlhodi’s testimony, Zuma said it was a lie that he had “auctioned off the country”.

“What an exaggeration from a lawyer,” he said referring to Ramatlhodi.

“He can’t say what I auctioned. … Did I auction Table Mountain or did I auction Johannesburg?”

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