[News] Jacob Zuma suffers from memory loss

Former president Jacob Zuma is seen during his testimony at the Chief Justice Raymond Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. (Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Former president Jacob Zuma has appeared before the state capture commission of inquiry last week regarding testimonies that were provided by several witnesses. The commission’s legal team stated that it would be unfair to Mr. Zuma if he did not put certain things to him where he was clearly implicated by other witnesses.

Commissions of inquiry are independent of the government and the inquiry is held in the interest for the public good. The purpose of the commission is to inquire into various issues, report findings, give advice and make recommendations. Although the commission’s findings are not legally binding, they can be highly influential.

Mr Zuma was fingered in most of the testimonies by several witnesses and the line of questioning related to the statements or allegations that they presented at the commission. Many of the witnesses provided detailed accounts of conversations, meetings, trips, etc. regarding the allegations in their individual testimonies. When Zuma was questioned about the allegations, he stated that he could not remember, he was not there, it did not take place, etc. His answers were very vague and abrupt and It seems ludicrous and very far-fetched that all these high profile public servants or individuals were lying or they were being dishonest. Some of the witnesses were part of his cabinet while others were from the public and private sector.

Mr Zuma has a selective memory where he remembers selected events or things clearly that benefits him or supports his disclosures but he fails to remember other events. He deliberately chooses to remember what he wants to remember and chooses to forget the rest. His body language clearly shows that he hates every minute being at the commission and it describes his intent and his delaying tactics which he also clearly displayed during his troubled presidency.

Is JZ suffering from dementia, i.e. loss of memory, reasoning and judgement?

From his testimony and responses to the questions that were posed to him, it was evident that he was out to name and shame public servants, his fellow cadres and others. He does not care what damage it may do to individuals, the country and it citizens and he has an ulterior motive to take all those standing down with him. He has mentioned several events and items that has no real bearing on the State Capture Commission but it obviously opens up Pandora’s box.

Let’s analyse selected parts of Jacob Zuma’s testimony and note the inconsistencies or major concerns:

Zuma clearly remembers Ngoako Ramatlodi and former general Simphiwe Nyanda of being apartheid spies but he could not remember the several meetings with Vytjie Mentor (former MP, chair of Parliament’s public enterprises committee) and Barbara Hogan (former public enterprises minister) that took place many years later. They pinpointed Zuma as someone who allegedly hired and fired people. Ramatlodi and Nyanda vehemently denied Zuma’s allegations and Ramatlodi challenged Zuma to a lie detector test to prove his innocence.

·       If Ramatlodi was a spy as he alleged, why did he appoint him to ministerial and other governmental posts. Reasonable logic would be to exclude any spies and consider honest and capable individuals. The same should apply to Nyanda. When Zuma discovered this, his duty should have been to report this to the ANC and the state security minister (where applicable).

·       Zuma claims and clearly remembers that there was a long running plot against him and attempts to assassinate his character. He claims that several attempts were made on his life since the 1990s. This seems strange as he did not display any fear at ANC rallies or events where he openly sang and danced on stage and with the public. Any person that is fearful for their life will be absolutely careful how, where and when they interact with others.  According to the media, he has not reported this to the state security minister or the South African police. He was the head of the ANC National Intelligence from 1987 to 1993 and he should have known better and to legally report such claims for further investigation. Is this another ploy to seek for sorrow and compassion and shift the attention of the commission to other events?

·       Zuma’s shady relationships with the Gupta brothers were not answered adequately and satisfactorily. The media has on several occasions in the past exposed many shady and corrupt deals that the Guptas were accustomed to and Zuma was pinpointed in many of those deals or events. While he was in power, he oversaw the systematic looting of state funds and corruption was at its peak.

·       Zuma stated at the commission that the former presidents Mr Mandela and Mr Mbeki knew the Gupta brothers before him and Mr Mbeki introduced him to the Gupta brothers. The Thabo Mbeki Foundation refuted Zuma’s claims. Even if that was true, this does not answer the alleged corrupt relationship he had with the Gupta brothers and the alleged open looting of government coffers.

·       On last Friday, Zuma’s legal team confirmed that he withdrew from the commission and will not take any further part in the proceedings. They felt that their client has been treated unfairly and his credibility is being attacked. After meeting with Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in his chambers, he has agreed to return to the commission to testify. Zuma is once again relying on his usual delaying tactics and he is attempting to ambush and derail the commission. Zuma has always stated that the allegations against him are untrue and he wants his day in court to prove his innocence. This is the perfect opportunity to come clean and prove his innocence. Zuma has painted himself into a corner and now he is like a wounded lion with nowhere to go. If you get close to him, he will attack and spill the beans. When Zuma testifies for the second time at the commission, the South African citizens will be eagerly waiting with bated breath regarding his active participation in the commission, any new allegations and denials.

The SACP, ANC war veterans, some parliamentarians, other interested parties have poked holes in Mr Zuma’s testimony and they believe that he was not honest. The ANC is fractured and these events are increasing the split between the different factions within the ANC. Will the ANC survive the next election or will there several smaller or splinter parties?

Is Jacob Zuma suffering from dementia or is he a pathological liar?

You be the judge.

(Selected statistics and events are courtesy of the internet)

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