Former South African President Jacob Zuma addresses supporters after appearing at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 19, 2019. Picture: REUTERS / MIKE HUTCHINGS
Former South African President Jacob Zuma addresses supporters after appearing at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 19, 2019. Picture: REUTERS / MIKE HUTCHINGS

Former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters want the ANC to establish a commission of inquiry to expose and get rid of all the apartheid-era spies that infiltrated the liberation movement, as well as any that may be in the government now.

On Friday, Zuma himself issued a stern warning to his detractors who “talk too much”, saying he was going to expose all the spies “one by one” because he had been provoked to the “last degree”.

He was addressing his supporters after appearing before the state-capture commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, in Johannesburg on Friday.

Zuma and his personal friends the Guptas stand accused of grand corruption and wide-ranging state capture. He took issue with people accusing him of having a corrupt relationship with the Guptas, saying no shred of evidence has been produced to back the assertion.

Zuma recently fingered his former ministers Ngoako Ramatlhodi (mineral resources) and Siphiwe Nyanda (communications) as apartheid-era spies.

The former ministers have appeared before the commission, with Ramatlhodi accusing Zuma of auctioning SA off to the Guptas, while Nyanda testified about how transport minister Fikile Mbalula reacted when one of the Gupta brothers called to inform him of his appointment as sports minister.

“I want to give a warning to those who want to come to this commission and say things they don’t know [anything about] ... like this one comrade who said I auctioned the country off to the Guptas. Well, that is silliness,” said Zuma.

Zuma, who was the ANC’s head of intelligence during the struggle for liberation, said people will assume he is mad when he starts exposing the spies one by one. “I know a lot about spies. That was my job given to me by the ANC. I’ve respected this, I’ve never played around with that information but if people now want me to uproot them, I will,” he warned.

“If they want it, I will give it to them. Whatever I’ve said, it’s out of provocation that has been made against me. All I’m saying is people must be very careful, when I say I will tell things about them ... I mean it.”

uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, a staunch Zuma supporter and defender, said: “We say to those comrades you had better clear yourselves properly because we will not have spies and counter-revolutionaries leading the ANC.”

“The time has come for us to say to the ANC it must institute, now, a proper and formal commission of inquiry to get the information on every spy and on every counter-revolutionary that joined the ANC. We say, once a spy, always a spy. They will be exposed, they will be rooted out, they must go. The ANC is not the house of spies, it is our home, it’s the people’s home, it’s the home of the revolution and of radical economic transformation.”

In February, COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota accused Ramaphosa of selling him and other detainees out to the apartheid-era special branch in 1974 to save himself from being jailed on Robben Island. Ramaphosa has denied this.

The ANC could not immediately be reached for comment.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za