Former President Jacob Zuma appears before the Zondo Commission. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - "I have been provoked and provoked to the last degree."

These were the chilling words of former president Jacob Zuma on the first day of his appearance before the State Capture Inquiry, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. 

Zuma's appearance comes months after a standoff with the commission, which he has accused of being biased and lacking the "requisite impartiality".

The former president, speaking before a room packed with supporters, used the morning to share his side of the story and his reservations about the formation and work of the commission.

“You’ll realise that me as an individual, I’ve been a subject of talk in this country for more than a decade. I’ve been vilified, alleged to be the king of corrupt people. I’m the most corrupt, I've been given every other name and I’ve never responded.  

"This commission, from my understanding, was really created to have me come here and perhaps to find things on me. I will deal with how it was conceived."

Zuma went on to detail the genesis of the supposed campaign to "assassinate his character" and remove him from the scene, saying it began in the 90s with successful attempts to remove him as the ANC's head of intelligence. 

He then went on to highlight how this alleged campaign continued throughout the years, through his removal as deputy president and the decision to institute criminal charges against him in relation to the Arms Deal.

"There has been a plan to deal with Zuma and Zuma has been dealt with all the time".

Zuma remained firm in his stance that the plan to "assassinate his character" continued to this day and was finally being implemented through various investigations and criminal charges instituted against him.

The inquiry continues.

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