Zuma denies any unlawful activities with the Guptas

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Former President, Jacob Zuma has claimed that he never engaged in any unlawful activities with the controversial Gupta family.

After 130 days of testimony from more than 80 witnesses, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is hearing Zuma’s testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Monday.

Some have placed Zuma and the Gupta family directly at the centre of the state capture project.

Zuma says he was introduced by former minister in the Presidency during the Mbeki administration Essop Pahad to the Guptas.

“The person who introduced them was Essop Pahad. They were introduced as good business people. They knew a lot of comrades. When Mandela was President they started being very close and friends with Mandela. When Mandela was gone they were friends with Thabo. I never did anything with them unlawfully or whatever. We remained friends. I have explained how my son got onto them when he looked for different kinds of business people to work with; and I have wondered why people think that my relationship with them is not right when they had a relationship with others – two other Presidents had relations with them.”


Continuous conspiracy

Zuma has also detailed what he believes to be a continuing conspiracy against him, following the corruption case in which Schabir Shaik was charge and convicted.

Shaik, Zuma’s former financial adviser, was found guilty of fraud and corruption in June 2005 and sentenced to 15-years behind bars.

Zuma and French arms company, Thales, are still facing charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering for a series of alleged bribes paid to Zuma through Shaik, during the multi-billion rand arms deal in the late 1990s.

Speaking at the Commission, Zuma says it was questionable that Shaik was charged and convicted alone in charges that he was also implicated in. He says there was a conspiracy to prolong accusations of corruption against him.

Zuma says that the setting up of the State Capture Commission is the most recent chapter in over 20 year conspiracy to deal with him. He says two international and a local intelligence organisation hatched a plan to assassinate his character to ensure his exit from the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC). This was because of the information he had as the party’s Chief of Intelligence.

The plan, he says, included the allegations of corruption against him in the Arms Deal, his axing as Deputy President in 2005 and the alleged impropriety linked to the security upgrades at his Nkandla home which lead to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State Capture report.

Zuma says he was surprised that the country’s legal minds did not raise issues with Madonsela’s remedial action which he says saw his powers as the President to establish the State Capture Commission annexed.

Despite the MKMVA and other organisations that support Zuma promising a large contingent of supporters to show up at the State Capture commission, they are still nowhere in sight an hour into Zuma’s appearance.


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