WATCH | 'I saved David Mabuza's life and I'd do it again,' says Jacob Zuma

08 May 2020 - 06:00

Former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane say they stand ready to save Deputy President David Mabuza's life again, should they be asked to do so.

In episode two of the digital conversation with Duduzane, the former president for the first time confirms that he was instrumental in organising for Mabuza to be flown to the Russian capital of Moscow for medical treatment in 2015 after he was poisoned.

At the time, Mabuza was premier of Mpumalanga and part of a group of senior ANC figures who supported Zuma.

Mabuza was accompanied by Duduzane to Moscow on a Gupta private jet and few days later Zuma returned to Russia in the company of one of the controversial Gupta brothers to oversee the now deputy president's safe return home back in 2015.

“I appreciated because you saved a life and you did not hesitate to do so. I was involved. I initiated the trip and he was very thankful for the services that you gave,” says Zuma in a 51-minute Zoom discussion with his son.

The former president said Mabuza “was gone” had he not intervened in 2015.

“I was saying here that this young man [Duduzane] does have my heart because I always want to help and that help was saving a life. And it saved his life otherwise he was going, he said so himself, he was telling people how much you saved his life.”

Zuma and Duduzane said they would save Mabuza's life again if they were to be asked to do so, despite the outcome of the ANC's 2017 elective conference at Nasrec.

At that conference, Mabuza was accused of shifting his considerable support from Zuma's preferred successor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in favour of current president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“This was a comrade who needed saving — I did not know who poisoned him and why. Even if that can be repeated, we would still save the life. No doubt about it,” said Zuma.

“It's a moving story that one day should be on record so that people should know, those who always say what are the things you're doing behind the scenes.”