Two former finance ministers, Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan, have now given evidence at the Zondo commission on state capture, and it’s worth registering what their evidence has been and what we have learnt — and not learnt — about the state capture process so far. The most crucial evidentiary theme has been the nature of the role of former president Jacob Zuma. The evidence puts Zuma at the centre of the state capture process and highlights his personal pivotal role in disrupting the functioning of the state according to his personal whims. Over the years, this process of hollowing out the state has been alleged and surmised, but now evidence before the commission clarifies and magnifies that role. Significantly, this was only at the instance of the notorious Gupta family; evidence before the commission suggests it began even before the Gupta family’s influence was being profoundly felt. What the commission has not yet heard is who, particularly, was behind these efforts.

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