While President Cyril Ramaphosa says he was prepared to testify at the commission of inquiry into state capture currently underway, his predecessor Jacob Zuma has questioned its existence.
Delivering a lecture on free education at the Walter Sisulu University’s Nelson Mandela Drive Site Campus in Mthatha on Wednesday, the former president said he did not believe the state had been captured.
Addressing about 500 students from the ANC-aligned student organisation, South African Students Congress, which hosted the lecture, Zuma said it was only if all three arms of the state – the judiciary, the legislature and the executive – were captured that the phenomenon of state capture could be true.
“A state is composed of three elements, it is the legislature, executive and judiciary. That constitutes the state. So, let me ask the question, if that is the case, what is this thing called state capture? Does it mean these three arms have been captured? Is it true?
“We have a commission that is sitting investigating the state capture. Is the state captured? My view, and I am not disagreeing with anyone, is that these are politically decorated expressions. Absolutely,” said Zuma.
“There is no state that is captured.”
He said even when people were trying to describe state capture, especially when giving evidence, it only revealed that there were some individuals who were doing things with other people.
“Not a single one of the three is captured. The judiciary is not captured. Is Parliament captured? Is the executive captured? So where is state capture?” asked Zuma.
He asked why students were not questioning this state capture phenomenon but swallowing what he called a politically decorated expression which was meant to achieve something he did not know.
“I mean I would challenge anyone. There is no state capture in South Africa. The 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. I am talking to students – I want you to educate me because I never went to any school. I am just saying please, politically let us not swallow everything that is given to us,” he said.
Zuma, who is known for having many ANC leaders and sympathisers with him whenever he makes public appearances, was surprisingly not accompanied by any leader of the ANC when he arrived in Mthatha. At the main table where he was sitting, he was only flanked by student leaders who were later joined by former ANC Youth League leader Mawande Ndakisa.