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Zuma inquiry: South Africa's ex-leader claims he received death threats

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Media captionJacob Zuma: I have been vilified

South African former President Jacob Zuma says he and his family received death threats after his testimony at an inquiry into corruption under his rule.

He told the judge-led inquiry on Tuesday that the threats had followed his testimony on the previous day.

In the earlier testimony, he said he had been the target of assassination attempts in the past.

He was forced from office in early 2018 amid widespread claims of cronyism and abuse of power – which he denies.

Mr Zuma was replaced by his then deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, who promised to tackle corruption and described his predecessor’s nine years in office as “wasted”.

On Monday Mr Zuma, 77, said the allegations were part of a decades-long “conspiracy” to remove him from the political scene.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Mr Zuma told the judge that his personal assistant had received a phone call threatening to kill him and his children. His lawyer was also threatened, Mr Zuma said.

What is the inquiry about?

The inquiry is investigating allegations that Mr Zuma oversaw a web of corruption during his term in office.

The allegations focus on his relationship with the controversial Gupta family, which was accused of influencing cabinet appointments and winning lucrative state tenders through corruption.

He has also been accused of taking bribes from logistics firm Bosasa, run by the Watson family.

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AFP

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Zuma supporters attended his speech following the inquiry on Monday

They all deny allegations of wrongdoing.

“I have been vilified, alleged to be the king of corrupt people,” Mr Zuma told the inquiry led by Judge Ray Zondo on Monday.

Zuma on the ‘conspiracy’ against him

On Monday he lashed out, in detail – and with fury – at what he said was a decades-long conspiracy against him.

He implied that the UK and US had been – and still were – part of an elaborate plot to discredit him, even as he tried to bring about political and economic change in South Africa.

Other foreign trained agents had tried to poison him, Mr Zuma said, without naming them.

On Sunday night, Mr Zuma was in a good mood. He tweeted a video of himself laughing at the chant “Zuma must fall!”

How did ‘state capture’ operate in South Africa?

Many of the revelations from the inquiry concern the relationship between two families – the Zumas, centred on the former president, and the Guptas, three Indian-born brothers who moved to South Africa after the fall of apartheid.

The two families became so closely linked that a joint term was coined for them – the “Zuptas”.

The Guptas owned a portfolio of companies that enjoyed lucrative contracts with South African government departments and state-owned conglomerates. They also employed several Zuma family members – including the president’s son, Duduzane – in senior positions.

According to testimony heard at the inquiry, the Guptas went to great lengths to influence their most important client, the South African state.

Public officials responsible for various state bodies say they were directly instructed by the Guptas to take decisions that would advance the brothers’ business interests.

It is alleged that compliance was rewarded with money and promotion, while disobedience was punished with dismissal.

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