Some people wanted me dead - Jacob Zuma

In ANN7 interview president also says 'state capture' inquiry would also have to establish whether whole thing was fake

State capture report a political tool – Zuma

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma believes that the Public Protector's report on state capture was a political tool meant to be used to deal with certain individuals.

In an exclusive interview with ANN7 on Monday evening, Zuma spoke out about the State of Capture report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, in which she recommended that Zuma establish a commission of inquiry into state capture and that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng choose the judge to preside over it.

The report looked into whether Zuma's friends, the controversial Gupta family, had undue influence on the executive. Zuma took the recommendation on review, arguing that only he has the authority to appoint the judge.

Zuma said state capture was political propaganda as only a small number of people had been implicated. He said none of the three arms of government – the executive, judiciary and legislature – had been captured.

"When I establish the commission of inquiry, one of the things they will have to clarify [is], 'what is a state capture?' Nobody said there are judges or the whole Parliament captured," said Zuma.

Madonsela 'doing her job, but...'

He said the inquiry would have to establish whether or not state capture was "all a fake, political, just painting black a particular family and a few individuals".

"I think there was a political reason that this report was supposed to be used to deal with a number of other people, I think so."

In the same breath, Zuma said he wouldn't want to make the assumption that Mandonsela had taken on a political role and that the report was a political weapon.

"The judicial commission of inquiry would clarify all of that. I wouldn't want to make allegations. We need to deal with those types of questions. If the commission of inquiry is doing the real investigations, I'm sure they should be able to say why was this particular investigation done this way."

Zuma added that while he believed Madonsela was doing her job, he did not agree with the manner in which she had done it.

Zuma also said that the inquiry would have a broad scope and cover all possible corruption. He said those who are guilty of corruption would be outed.

'Strong poison'

Zuma also spoke about people who wanted him dead and had poisoned him with "strong poison".

Without going into detail, Zuma said there were local, continental and global forces trying to ensure that South Africa's problems are not solved and that the country moves in a particular direction.

"Some people wanted me dead. It was a strong poison and indeed I did go through a difficult time."

Zuma may have been referring to an alleged plot to poison him in 2014. The Hawks confirmed in August that they had completed their investigation into the matter and were working on a docket.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the Hawks were dealing with a few matters raised by the National Prosecuting Authority.

One of Zuma's wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, was fingered as a suspect.

Speaking on the alleged balance of forces at work in South African politics, Zuma said the country was not immune to a possible coup as seen in other African countries over the years.

He said those coups were not engineered by the citizens of those countries, but outsiders.

"There are forces that are always trying to influence, confuse and mislead so they can have things their own way."