Day 2: Zuma is still uncertain - top 7 quotes by the former president

2019-07-16 19:19
Former South African president Jacob Zuma appears before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on July 15, 2019 in Johannesburg. Photo: WIKUS DE WET / POOL / AFP

Former South African president Jacob Zuma appears before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on July 15, 2019 in Johannesburg. Photo: WIKUS DE WET / POOL / AFP

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On day two of former president Jacob Zuma's appearance before the state capture commission, he seemed to be uncertain or unwilling to comment about allegations against him.

His relationship with the Gupta family as well as allegations put forward by former MP Vytjie Mentor were also explored.

Here are his top quotes from the day:  

1. "I just thought I should put on record something for us to know. Yesterday night between 19:00 and 20:00, my PA from the ANC side was phoned by a person she does not know. This person said she must tell Zuma that we are going to kill him, we'll also kill his children as well as some people around him. I'm sure, chair you'll recall I said a lot about how my life has been attempted… I'm putting this on record because later at some point I'd like to come back to this issue because I have lost a child and I now know what happened, the threat, I can say, has been implemented already."

Zuma kicked the commission off with a bang, making it clear that he was testifying before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo despite the threat to his and his family's life.

2. "I'm not sure whether I should really interpret people's mood and how they addressed one another, because it is here, from Mr Maseko, who discussed this with Gupta. Now how do I interpret them? I think the trend has been that we are actually saying I should be saying something on interactions that I was not part of."

Advocate Paul Pretorius, on behalf of the commission, had questioned Zuma about former head of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Themba Maseko's allegations that Ajay Gupta threatened to get rid of him through Zuma if he did not cooperate. Zuma said he did not know about this and sidestepped questions by saying he was not there and would not know. 

3. "From time to time they briefed me … on the progress they were making [in] establishing that business, the newspaper."

On Monday, Zuma told the commission that he was the brainchild behind the concept of ANN7 and the New Age. Today, it seems he was more careful about revealing to what extent he was actually involved, only admitting to a briefing session on the progress of the media venture and not the financing of it. 

4. "No, I never instructed the minister to do so … the minister discussed the fact that he would like to transfer Mr Maseko… I think there was an issue between the two of them, I can't remember the details…"

Maseko, in his statement, said in 2011 Zuma instructed former minister Collins Chabane to "redeploy me or terminate my contract henceforth" because he was not co-operating with the demands of the Gupta family.

Maseko added Chabane had no choice but to implement Zuma's instructions knowing that, according to Maseko: "I was a committed civil servant who had not done anything wrong."

Zuma gave a different story. Albeit vague, he said there were issues between the two and he never instructed that Maseko be removed.

5. "I had no interaction with this witness. Nothing."

This was Zuma's general response to allegations put forward by Mentor in a statement to the commission. 

Zuma said at the time Mentor had made allegations about him on social media in 2016, he could not recall who she was. It was only later, after Parliament had released a statement on the matter, did he remember. 

This was despite Mentor being adamant that they knew each other from the ANC national caucus and having met on the ground numerous times. 

6. "Ajay Gupta was not part of government, was not even part of the people who normally get consulted… He shouldn't have known."

Mentor claimed that Ajay Gupta had told her he could put in a good word with the president if she acted in their favour by closing the South African Airways India route. She added this offer was made with Zuma's knowledge and approval.

Pretorius asked Zuma if Ajay Gupta was someone he had consulted with before his Cabinet reshuffles.

Zuma replied there were a few high-ranking officials he had consulted with before reshuffling the Cabinet, but Ajay Gupta would not have been one them.

7. "Let me not comment because I don't know what was the cause of that."

This was Zuma's response to Mentor's allegations that, in 2016, she had laid charges against Zuma which was taken to the Hawks.

Shortly after this, however, Mentor said the Hawks advised her that they could not investigate the case because she had mentioned Zuma's name. She removed his name from the complaint "in the hopes that the Hawks would investigate it". 

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Read more on:    vytjie mentor  |  ajay gupta  |  themba maseko  |  jacob zuma  |  state capture inquiry  |  state capture

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