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‘There is no state that was captured’ - Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma
Image: Masi Losi

Former president Jacob Zuma has again denied that the South African state was ever captured‚ saying the term was just a “politically decorated expression”.

Addressing students at the Walter Sisulu University of Technology in Mthatha on Wednesday‚ Zuma said the term was used by people who wanted to achieve certain political outcomes.

He said the state was composed of three elements - the legislature‚ the judiciary and the executive - and that none of them were captured. “If that is the case‚ what is this thing called state capture‚ state capture? Does it mean these three arms are captured?” asked Zuma.

He questioned whether it was true that the state was captured‚ as there was currently a commission investigating it.

“My view‚ and I am not disagreeing with anyone‚ these politically decorated expressions...there is no state that is captured. Even when people try to describe it‚ worse when they give evidence‚ there are some people who were doing things with other people‚” said Zuma.

He maintained that neither Parliament‚ nor the judiciary or the executive were captured.

“There are people who did things to others in one form or the other‚ and you can call it in any other name‚ not this big name ‘state capture’‚” said Zuma.

He urged students to argue and research and not to just swallow what was presented to them.

Zuma’s comments come the day before a inquiry into state capture – headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo – was due to resume hearings on Thursday. High-profile ANC politicians including former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor have already testified in the commission. Former CEO of the Government Communication and Information Systems‚ Themba Maseko‚ and its current acting CEO‚ Phumla Maseko‚ have also testified at the commission.

This was not the first time Zuma has denied that the state was captured under his administration.

He further argued against the country’s constitutional democracy‚ saying that it meant South Africa was not really under majority rule.

“[Constitutional democracy] means that Parliament does not have the last word‚ the majority does not have the last word. You take a decision‚ and an NGO takes you to the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Court says your decision is unconstitutional. So you don’t have the majority rule‚” said Zuma.

He said further discussion was needed on the matter.

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