- Former president Jacob Zuma has described reported attempts to probe his children's bank accounts as "cowardice".
- Zuma was referring to a Sunday Times report which stated the Zondo commission had subpoenaed at least 20 accounts linked to the Zuma family.
- The former president said he "drew the line" at his children and would fight back with all he had.
Former president Jacob Zuma has come out with guns blazing, stating he "drew the line" at anyone targeting his children in investigations against him and that harassing them was a "declaration of war" in which he would fight back with all his might.
In a statement released on Friday, Zuma said he noted with concern a report by the Sunday Times alleging the Zondo commission had turned its attention to his children's bank accounts.
It reported it had seen subpoenas relating to at least 20 accounts linked to the Zuma family, including a TV production company that produces an SABC1 soapie, Uzalo, which belongs to one of Zuma's daughters, Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube.
He said while he accepted the commission was "desperate" to hold him to account on his role in state capture, he condemned attempts to target his children by way of "clandestine investigations" in matters they had nothing to do with.
"Indeed, the terms of reference make it clear that I, and not my children, am central to the investigation of the commission.
"My children live their lives separately and must be treated like any child or person that has not been implicated in any wrongdoing. So far, they have not been served with any notices indicating that they are in any way implicated by any witnesses selected by the commission," Zuma added.
He said it was disturbing his children became aware of the investigations when they were called by journalists in the week prior to the publication of the story.
Zuma added his children were not in government and should not be dragged into battles that were "designated to destroy" him, saying if they were identified as part of investigations, they should be notified in the same way others, who were implicated, were so they could exercise their rights too.
The former president said banks should not conspire with "unlawful investigations", adding not even the apartheid regime conspired with banks to get into the accounts of children of people who were pursued by the state.
"In a country that subscribes to the rule of law, it should not be the case that our children and family members are targeted and paraded in this fashion. This is selective morality, which protects some from prosecution while tagging others as scapegoats is inconsistent with our declared culture of human rights and equality before the law."
Zuma appealed to the commission and law enforcement agencies to keep his children out of its investigations as they "do whatever they seek to do to punish" him.
"My family and I have not known peace under apartheid and yet we remain tagged in post-apartheid South Africa. I have tolerated intense harassment and relentless vilification for 25 years.
"My opponents have now decided to target my children and this is where I draw the line and state that this harassment of my children is a declaration of war... I have had enough."
He alleged his children were also being harassed by the Sunday Times, saying he would "retaliate" for the sake of his family.
"I will not stand by when my children have become victims of faceless cowards doing the bidding for their masters from whom they beg for crumbs and leftovers falling off from the dinner table."
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