Former President Jacob Zuma began his testimony at the state capture commission in Parktown by saying that he has been “vilified and called the king of corruption” for over a decade.
“I’ve been vilified, alleged to be king of corrupt people and the most corrupt. I have been given many other names and never responded to those issues.”
He says he did not respond because he believed it was important that we all respected one another.
Zuma pointed to events in the past, which he said sought to discredit him and advance, what he said, was the “anti-Zuma narrative.”
“That is the beginning of the process that has put me where I am today.”
“This commission was really created to have me coming hear and perhaps to find things on me,” he added.
“There has been process, particularly against Jacob Zuma, a conspiracy.”
Zuma said: It’s important to say this because the character assassination against me has been going on for 10 years. There was a plan to deal with Zuma and I have been dealt with all the time.”
He went on: “Anything that happened since that time, I have been linking the dots all the time… the plan of establishing this commission is no different to what happened in 1990/1991.”
Zuma also related how one of his sons was removed from his workplace because of the Zuma name, and who subsequently found employment with the Guptas.
Prior to his testimony, Chief Justice Zondo highlighted that Zuma would be addressing a number of issues he has been implicated in.
Zondo told the commission that while they intended to treat everyone who appears before the inquiry with courtesy, they would be firm where firmness is required.
The former president has been vocal about his disregard for the commission with questions raised about whether he will be giving testimony at all when he appears throughout the week.
The former president has been named as a key figure in a number of scandals that have played out over some years as a result of his alleged close links to the controversial Gupta family.