Zuma: What state capture? Show me a shred of evidence
Taking a swipe at the array of inquiries, he bemoans what he calls an effort to paint him as 'a terrible man'
Former president Jacob Zuma says none of the commissions of inquiry investigating alleged state capture and corruption committed under his leadership have found a “shred of evidence” against him.
And he continues to question whether state capture actually exists.
“Right now, there are commissions that are sitting – also motivated by the fact that Zuma is a corrupt man, Zuma has wrong friends. But as these commissions are going, no shred of evidence has come to say, yes, Zuma did this and that,” he told Times Select on Friday.
He adds that this is part of what he describes as “the false face that is being shown, that this Zuma is a terrible man”.
Zuma has, as yet, not applied to cross-examine a single witness at the Zondo state capture inquiry, which was initially focused on investigating claims that the Gupta family and their associates were influencing the appointment of ministers and senior office bearers in state-owned enterprises, in order to ensure that pliant officials do their bidding.
Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene linked his shock December 2015 axing by Zuma – which sent the rand into freefall – to Zuma’s unhappiness over his resistance to a R1 trillion nuclear deal with Russia.
Zuma said earlier he continued to support such a deal, which he is adamant would not have been the financial suicide predicted by analysts and numerous treasury officials – but would have “saved” SA from its energy crisis.
Most recently, former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi detailed how the controversial facilities management company – implicated in multibillion-rand tender rigging – allegedly made large cash payments to the Jacob Zuma Education Trust and sponsored a lavish birthday party for the then president.
Zondo reportedly told the SABC in March he would like Zuma to appear before his inquiry.
“Former president Zuma was the president during a certain time. There are allegations about certain things that are said to have happened during the time that he was president of the country. He has himself, as I understand from his lawyers, made it clear that he will co-operate with the commission in every way. There should be no problem whatsoever in him coming forward,” Zondo said.
“We will hear more evidence and at a certain stage I believe he will come.”
Zuma has, however, made it clear that he does not believe any of this testimony implicates him in wrongdoing.
He has also questioned the existence of state capture itself, saying he has “been finding it very difficult that you are using such a big word when you are dealing with a few individuals, that some of them may be in the state, and you call it a state capture”.
“I think it’s a way of trying to create a huge thing out of the information that is not so huge.
“Because you say, there is a family that captured the state, but even when the commission had been going, I haven’t found somebody who says ... there were judges who were captured. I haven’t heard that there were people in parliament who were captured, or in government.
“If there are individuals within these three arms of the state who were either talked to, or interfered with or captured, it does not mean the state is captured. Why should we say there’s a state capture when it is not? When you are talking about individuals who were interacting with certain people or a certain family? Why do you call it a state capture? What are you trying to do?”
Zuma has criticised former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into state capture as being a “rush rush thing”.He maintains he did not answer Madonsela’s questions about his alleged relationship with the Gupta family, who are in business with his son Duduzane, because he needed more time to consider those questions.“How do you answer questions when you have not prepared? That was not very normal.”Madonsela’s report withstood Zuma’s legal attack on its remedial action, with the High Court in Pretoria ordering that he personally pay the estimated R10m in legal costs for that challenge.