Former president Jacob Zuma told the state capture commission of inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that attempts to "assassinate his character" have resulted in his family suffering significant consequences.
During his almost two-hour-long session, where he provided background into what led him to eventually appear before the commission, Zuma claimed he had been the number one victim of a conspiracy starting back in 1990.
He said the attempts to assassinate his character also spread to his family, particularly his children.
He alleged they were not given business and job opportunities, because they were associated with him.
Zuma said people who were against him and vilified him happened to forget that he had a family.
"My own family suffers out of this. Leaving me [out], perhaps I am a soldier, I can take everything. People forget that I have got a family, which will not want to hear lies being told about me.
"But not just that, you have some of my children who have suffered as a result of me," the former president said.
Zuma went on to single out his sons, Mxolisi "Saady" and Duduzane, and how they had found difficulty getting employment in Johannesburg.
He said he eventually advised them to move to Durban for opportunities.
He said Saady was at one point working for a fire fighting company. He claimed a particular company wanted to pull out of the deal with the fire fighting company after realising who his father was.
"A company which had Ngcuka and others wanted to have a deal with this company... When it came to this company, they saw the name [Saady Zuma], and they said 'sorry, we can't have a deal with this name'," Zuma told the commission.
He added that his son was later "politely" asked to leave the company.
Regarding Duduzane, Zuma added that his son even had to quit working at national intelligence because he had been ill-treated when attacks started on the former president.
He said because Duduzane studied Information Technology Association (IT), he realised that the Guptas were running an IT company and sought employment there.
He then left, and when he later returned, asked to be a shareholder, Zuma added.
"I did not even know [about the Guptas and Duduzane deal]. I was only informed afterwards, and he has been there working, [but] because he is my son, he has suffered a great deal," the former president said.
Zuma will be continuing with his testimony before the commission on Tuesday.