President Jacob Zuma wants to know what is meant by “state capture”.
The president, in an interview with television station ANN7 (formerly owned by the Gupta family) on Monday evening, questioned the meaning of the term.
“What is a state capture? I am sure very keen to know,” he said in the interview.
“They can’t just make it sound so important and big, this state capture,” he said.
He then went on to dismiss the idea, saying that it was a fabricated political tool to target specific people.
“It’s all fake and political, just to paint black a particular family and individuals,” the president said.
A confident Zuma told the news channel that he will be establishing a commission of inquiry which will be tasked with defining the meaning of “state capture”.
He went on to issue a threat to those talking about state capture, saying that they will come to regret it.
“They might regret, in fact, they will regret. That’s the point I’ve made because it’s not going to be choosy. It’s going to go to those who have done wrong things,” he affirmed.
The president added that as the commission will be going after those who have done wrong, if he has been involved in corrupt dealings, then the commission will expose him too.
He reaffirmed his stance against corruption, saying that he has been part of the fight against corruption.
The president is facing allegations of allowing close friends the Gupta family, to exert undue influence at state-owned enterprises.
With the release of emails from the family and their businesses, evidence appears to be mounting almost daily against them.
Fallout from the emails has had serious repercussions for a number of international companies, including British public relations firm Bell Pottinger, which was forced to close its doors, the removal of the entire management structure at the South African offices of international auditing firm KPMG and an investigation into German software company SAP, while global consulting firm McKinsey & Company faces the possibility of investigation from authorities in the United States.
Meanwhile, international bank HSBC and one of South Africa’s biggest banks, Nedbank, are also facing the prospect of investigation relating to their dealings with companies owned by the Guptas.