Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to appear for a second day at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Tuesday and is likely to “out” more people.
On Monday, Zuma, who had been implicated by several witnesses at the commission, told commission head Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo he had been “provoked to the last degree”.
He told Zondo there had been a conspiracy since the 1990s to “get rid” of him at all costs.
“This conspiracy against me has been stretched at all material times when there are things to be done or said.
“Chair, you will realise, me as an individual, I’ve been the subject of talk in this country for more than a decade…
“I’ve been alleged to have been the king of corrupt people. The most corrupt. Given every other name and I have never responded to those issues. First, because I believe it is important that we all respect each other,” he told the commission.
He also said he had listened to some of the witnesses who have implicated him before the commission. Zuma mentioned his former Cabinet minister Ngoako Ramathlodi’s testimony in particular, saying he accused him of “auctioning the country”.
“What an exaggeration from a lawyer … he can’t tell you auction what. What, did I auction. Table Mountain? Or auction Johannesburg? I don’t know,” Zuma said.
“The man was sitting where I was sitting now – Zuma has auctioned the country. That’s why we said he must go. But it is a lie. It’s nothing of that nature…
“What made comrade Ngoako to behave the way he did here? Saying I have auctioned the country. In the NEC [national executive committee] I just do what I like. He’s carrying out an instruction. He was recruited when he was a student in Lesotho to be a spy.”
Ramathlodi has since responded to the allegations of being a spy. He challenged the former president to take a lie detector test, according to News24.
During his testimony, Zuma also raised concerns about former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report.
He said there were “security” measures introduced by the security agencies, but the Public Protector said he should reimburse the state for these upgrades.
‘Secured in comfort’
He said MPs went to look for the upgrades at Nkandla, but they could not find them. He also pointed at the heading of the report by the Public Protector: “Secured in comfort.”
“Why in comfort? Because I had built with government money an amphitheatre at Nkandla.
“But an officer from a body like the Public Protector who’s supposed to protect us, used the phrases to enhance the narrative that Zuma is corrupt.”
Zuma also used the opportunity to raise concerns about the establishment of the commission, saying that when it was proposed or recommended by Madonsela there were certain things he was unhappy about because of the manner in which they were handled.
The former president once again stated his belief that it was wrong for Madonsela to suggest that the chief justice appoint the head of the commission, as opposed to the head of state at the time, Zuma himself.
Zuma questioned what defined the state in relation to the term state capture.
“I thought that the state is composed of three arms – Parliament, [the] judiciary and the executive,” he said.
“Why do we call it a state capture? Is that expression meaning the judges are captured? Is Parliament captured?” he asked.