EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Zuma's plots, spies, the Guptas and Johann Rupert

Jacob Zuma. (Netwerk24)
Jacob Zuma. (Netwerk24)

Testimony by former president Jacob Zuma on Monday was colourful, dramatic and controversial. He made allegations of plots and conspiracies against him dating back to before the arrival of democracy in South Africa.

This is what you need to know:

1. He reverted to his tried and tested tactic of playing the victim of a grand conspiracy, telling Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo the plot against him dates back to the early 1990s.

2. Zuma initially implicated ANC leaders in the 1990s, senior government officials as well as the ANC's current national executive as being party to the plot.

3. There were a number of mentions of "three intelligence organisations" that have been part of the plot - he has not mentioned them by name yet.

4. He has named former national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka and former justice minister Penuell Maduna as those behind efforts to "remove me from the scene".

5. Thuli Madonsela, the former Public Protector, has also featured prominently, with Zuma arguing that she usurped the powers of both the president and the judiciary with the findings in her report titled "State of Capture".

6. Apart from the victim card, he attempted to revise the Nkandla saga, dismissing the findings by Madonsela that he benefited from the Nkandla alterations.

7. Zuma came out guns blazing, saying: "I have been provoked and provoked … and all I wanted to do was to save the ANC and the country."

8. He named Ngoako Ramatlhodhi, the former minister of mineral resources Zuma fired and replaced with Mosebenzi Zwane, as an apartheid spy recruited in Lesotho.

9. Zuma waved around a piece of paper and said he had a list of names of presumably ANC leaders who worked as apartheid and American spies.

10. Zuma also claimed that businessman Johann Rupert threatened to "shut down the country" if he fires Pravin Gordhan as finance minister. This was told to him by Fikile Mbalula.

11. The commission also heard that Zuma survived a poisoning and there was a plot to assassinate him in Durban with the killers being flown in from overseas.

12. He clung onto the Guptas, saying they were friends, comrades and businesspeople. He gave their newspaper, The New Age, its name and proposed they launch a news channel.

13. He claimed the Guptas were better friends with former president Thabo Mbeki than he was, and they were also friends of former president Nelson Mandela.

14. Answering questions from Paul Pretorius, the evidence leader, he variously said he "couldn't recall", "couldn't remember" or "didn't know".

15. Zuma did not provide any insight into allegations by former Cabinet spokesperson and head of government communications Themba Maseko that he called Maseko and asked him to help the Guptas.

16. He claimed his conversations, advice and assistance to the Guptas, as well as his call to Maseko (which "may or may not" have happened) were normal.

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