Democratic Alliance (DA) representatives will attend the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Monday when former president Jacob Zuma is expected to testify. The party says it would like to hear first-hand exactly what answers Zuma will give to the commission.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone says Zuma is a central figure to the investigation into State Capture, as this was allegedly devised, executed and almost completed under his watch. The party says they are they eagerly anticipating Zuma’s testimony.
“One of the main reasons we are attending it is quite a thing to have an ex-president to come and testify. A lot of evidence given at the State Capture hearing has fingered [former] president Jacob Zuma as one of the architects of State Capture and one of the designers who executed State Capture on his watch. And I think now the country waits to hear his response in the many allegations,” expressed Mazzone.
The impact of State Capture is estimated to have wiped out a third of South Africa’s R4.9 trillion GDP, and reached its height during Zuma’s tenure. Zuma is also accused of overseeing mass looting of state funds during his nine-year reign before President Cyril Ramaphosa replaced him in 2018.
Zuma has denied all wrongdoing, and his lawyers have described the inquiry as an attempt to “ambush and humiliate” him. Over the next few days, Zuma will have an opportunity to set the record straight about all the allegations leveled against him.
He has since told SABC News that he will indeed be at the commission on Monday, as requested.
Zuma, who is not legally required to appear, has agreed to attend for up to five days this week, although it is not clear if he will co-operate with any cross-examination. The commission denied his request to see the questions in advance.
Last week the commission said that Zuma was invited to appear to enable him to give his side of the story.
The former president is also expected to be questioned on the testimonies of former ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Barbara Hogan, as well as that of former government spokesperson Themba Maseko, among others.
The ball is now in the former president’s court. Over the next few days, Zuma will have an opportunity to set the record straight. It’s not clear what the format of his testimony will be, and if he will respond directly to questions.
He’s expected to be represented by his legal team, led by Dan Mantsha.
Former President Zuma’s appearance follows the confession of South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands and former Chief of State Protocol, Bruce Koloane on Tuesday, about Zuma’s involvement in the landing of a Gupta charted plane at the Waterkloof Airforce Base. Koloane said he was “name-dropping” when he used the names of Zuma and two ministers to get approval for the landing.
Koloane denied personally benefiting from facilitating the unlawful landing of the Gupta plane.
– Additional Reporting AFP