31/05/2017 16:26 SAST | Updated 31/05/2017 16:56 SAST

Zuma Says He Has No Problem With An Inquiry Into State Capture, Completely Ignores Gupta Emails

The president was jeered mercilessly in the National Assembly.

The Times via Getty Images

President Jacob Zuma said he would welcome a probe into "what has been termed state capture".

"Let me place it on record that there is no opposition from the government or the presidency to an inquiry into state capture," he told the National Assembly on Wednesday while delivering the presidency's budget vote.

Without mention of the weekend's leaked Gupta emails, Zuma said a probe into state capture would help "recover the facts and remove rumours".

"What has caused a delay is the manner the former public protector directed the inquiry to be done, that infringes on the rights of the president," he said.

"It will cause problems..." he said, with a DA MP interjecting in the characteristic pause in Zuma's speech, "For you!"

Undeterred Zuma explained that according to him it will be a problem if the Chief Justice appoints the commission as the public protector directed, because it will create a precedent, and it undermines the principle of separation of powers.

"We want you in the tjoekie [behind bars]!" DA chief whip John Steenhuisen interjected while Zuma said that he trusts the matter will be resolved quickly.

Zuma started his speech addressing the recent spate of killings of women, which he described as brutal.

"Some are killed by men they trusted," he said.

"Violence against women has been declared a priority crime."

He said human trafficking is "despicable", a gross violation of human rights and "tantamount to modern day slavery".

He referred to his recent visit to Elsies River in Cape Town, where three-year-old Courtney Pieters was murdered. He said the community told him that the solution to crime will not only come from policing, but that better housing and more social workers are needed.

He said families should be strengthened.

"We need to unify as communities as all sectors... to promote safer communities. United we shall defeat this scourge."

The Economic Freedom Fighters, who previously vowed that they will not allow Zuma, who they view as an illegitimate president, to address them, were not present at the sitting.

(Read the president's full speech here.)