Jacob Zuma details ‘conspiracy’ against him

Former President Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma

Photo by Reuters

15th July 2019

By: Sashnee Moodley

Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia


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Former President Jacob Zuma on Monday proposed that an elaborate and detailed plan of character assassination against him beginning in 1990 up until his recent resignation as President had been pursued.

While giving his long-awaited testimony at the State capture commission of inquiry, Zuma also laid out his suspicions that the inquiry was really created to “find things on me”.

He alleged that there had been a concerted drive “to remove me from the scene”, which he says began, perhaps, as a response to his work in intelligence for the African National Congress (ANC).

“It has come in different forms and that’s why there are even people who say I have a way [of] trying to dodge things in one form or the other. I am going to connect the dots over a decade that talks to this point and talks to why I am here,” he set out.

Intelligence Report

Zuma detailed an intelligence report he received in 1990, whilst he served as the ANC’s chief of intelligence, which revealed to him that there were three intelligence organisations – two international and one in the country – that had met to discuss him and begin a process of character assassination.

Zuma says he did not understand why this plan was hatched. He wanted to find out, but did not want anyone to know, that the question came from him.

"After a brief period, the answer came back. The answer was, the reason why we want to character assassinate Zuma's character, was because he has a lot of information that he holds. Among that type of information, there are spies that are infiltrated by us in his organisation," he said.

Zuma said the spies were to be fostered in the ANC to one day lead the party. He had information about this, and his enemies didn't know when he would use it, he alleged.

He described a process to remove him as chief of intelligence during the ANC’s 1991 conference by the three organisations and has suspicions that his removal was being implemented by the ANC’s national working committee because there were spies in the ruling party.

“I thought it was important that the matter of this commission is not different from the plan, from those who initiated there must be a commission,” Zuma explained.

Arms Deal and Spy Tapes

He went on to question the interest with his involvement in the Arms Deal and said he found it strange the way he was being investigated. 

“When I was at a provincial level suddenly I had to be charged. Before being charged I was removed as deputy president in 2005, because I was implicated in the arms deal. Bear in mind I was not part of the process and it did not make sense to me. I had to be investigated, in a very strange way,” he said.

He had asked former National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka why he was being investigated and Ngcuka had told him not to worry and that there was no evidence against him.  

“The week after, I was called by two leading people in government and the ANC who said we must take a decision whether to continue investigating you or not but this matter needs to be discussed to find a solution. Around the same time there was information that I will be spoken to so that I resign from the leadership and go to Nkandla and I will be looked after. There was a rumour that I would be given R20-million and I will be maintained,” he revealed.

Zuma says the spy tapes case was also part of a plan "to deal with Zuma".

He questioned why people had talked of a generally corrupt relationship between him and convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.

“Everybody had said the judge said there has been a generally corrupt relationship between Shaik and Zuma. The media, politicians, academics, we all talk about generally corrupt relationship. Until the judge said this was unfair to him, because he had never said so and asked people to read his judgement. This was done to enhance the narrative against Zuma, that Zuma is corrupt,” the former President believes.

Public Protector

Zuma went on to question former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s powers during her investigations into his KwaZulu-Natal homestead Nkandla.

He said two government structures had investigated him and found nothing.

“I have been so much vilified in the world that I am the most corrupt person. After the two institutions investigated, the former public protector also came in to investigate, because people wanted to find something. She found nothing. Then she decided to say the additional security matters in my homestead, which were put in by the police and army, as it is their duty to do so… the Public Protector said I should pay for those because I indirectly benefitted. No other president has been made to do so,” Zuma said.

He pointed out that when the Public Protector’s office did not have the funds to investigate his relationship with the Guptas National Treasury found money to give the Public Protector.

He said this was done so that Madonsela could investigate him before her term ended.

Zuma also questioned the term State capture and said it was an exaggeration “meant to enhance the narrative against Zuma”.

He questioned why the Public Protector had asked the Chief Justice to appoint the chair of the State Capture commission, saying that all commissions are appointed by Presidents.

He said he found it very odd and said his view was that the Public Protector was taking on the executive powers of the President to fulfil an agenda.

He discussed the allegations that he was told by the Gupta family who to appoint in government. He says that is untrue and said the allegations were being made as part of the narrative “get rid of Zuma”.

He pointed out that he is the only South African President who has been brought before a commission.

“I have been provoked and provoked to the last degree. They make stories, they do everything. My own family suffers out of this. I am a soldier; I can take everything. People forget that I have a family, who do not want to hear lies being told about me. Some of my children have suffered as a result of me,” Zuma said.

Edited by David Shepherd
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