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'I'm glad I met these guys': Duduzane Zuma on the Guptas

Nothing to hide: Duduzane Zuma says the Guptas like him because he is 'a likable guy', and certainly not just because he is President Jacob Zuma's son

01 September 2017 - 06:22 By Penwell Dlamini
FACE TO FACE Milton Nkosi, right, interviews Duduzane Zuma for the BBC yesterdayPicture: BBC World News
FACE TO FACE Milton Nkosi, right, interviews Duduzane Zuma for the BBC yesterdayPicture: BBC World News

President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, is "super happy" that he met the Gupta family, he told the BBC in a wide-ranging interview.

He said he met them "through" his father.

In an interview with the BBC filmed in Dubai, the usually reclusive Duduzane said he did not believe the Gupta family wanted anything from him.

"They liked me. As I liked them. I think I'm a likable guy," he said.

Asked why the Gupta family liked him, Zuma replied: "That's a question that you'll have to ask them. I don't know. I think I'm a likable guy. There's nothing untoward about it. There's no unpacking the relationship and what was in it for them, what was in it for me. It was just a meeting of minds - they understood me, I understood them," he said.

WATCH | Duduzane Zuma: Exclusive BBC interview with the South African President's son

Zuma initially denied that he had been introduced to the Guptas by his father.

He said he "met the Guptas many years ago. I was not introduced to them. I came across them. They happened to be in the vicinity at that point. They were in the house, meeting my father. Like many people I've met in that space, I met them''.

He then conceded that he met them through his father.

Zuma claimed that the Gupta brothers - Atul, Ajay and Rajesh - did not want anything from the president's son.

“I’m not born with a silver
spoon in my mouth’’
Duduzane Zuma
President Jacob Zuma’s son

"I look back and I think I'm glad I met these guys, and I'm glad we are where we are today," he said.

"I'm not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. It is something I have had to work for. The decision I took to partner with the brothers, the Gupta family, it is a decision that I took that I don't regret. I'm super happy with it."

Interviewer Milton Nkosi asked Zuma about allegations that the Guptas had offered former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas a R600-million bribe. He said the meeting that Jonas referred to was organised by him to "sort out certain issues" and had nothing to do with the Guptas.

"Mr Jonas was not offered a bribe by the Guptas. I did meet them. I was present. There was no such thing that took part [place]."

He denied allegations of corruption relating to state capture, saying such corruption had a long history but "definitely" had not been perpetrated by him or his business partners.

"I'm not corrupt. I have not involved myself in any corrupt business."

Zuma said he and the Guptas were selling their businesses because "undue pressure has been put on us [and] on our business to get to a point where we are left no choice but to sell".

On Monday, Zuma published a letter to former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, titled "How do you sleep at night?", in which he blamed Gordhan for many of this country's ills.

Nkosi put the same question to Zuma.

He paused before saying: "I sleep very well. Do I have moments of being sad about the situation, being irritated about it, being disappointed by it? Definitely. Upset? Definitely not. There's 7500 employees we've been fighting for. That is definitely on my mind ."

Zuma explained why he had decided to speak out at this time. He said he felt "now is the right time to step up".

"There's a lot going on. It is open-letter season. It is press conference season. It is parliamentary committee season, it is investigations season. It is threats, it is heckling season . there is a lot going on.

"I feel ... now is the right time to step up. There is a lot happening politically, economically . We are in an interesting time . I feel like I have something to contribute."

Nkosi asked him why he was in Dubai and whether he owns property in the emirate.

"Firstly, I'm on business here. Secondly, Dubai is a wonderful place as I'm sure you would agree.

"I do not have a property in Dubai. I do not own an apartment in the Burj Khalifa," he said, laughing a little.

He rejects claims that his father owns a property in Dubai. Asked if the Guptas bought property on his behalf, he replied: "I think my father is a grown man ... [he] does not need anyone buying properties on his behalf, including myself."

He challenged Nkosi to come with him to any deeds office in Dubai to verify whether he or Zuma owned property in Dubai.

Zuma said he was not worried about being arrested.

 He was being interviewed as pressure mounted for the government to take action in respect of the revelations in leaked Gupta e-mails, many of which refer to Duduzane Zuma.


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