Power dressing: how Zuma got his Gupta suit
Family splashed out for suits at wedding the president was too ashamed to attend
When Jacob Zuma shook hands with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in October 2015 in New Delhi, he looked particularly dapper in a Nehru suit.
Now leaked e-mails show the Guptas bought the item especially for the president from a top Indian couturier.
The family ordered three jackets for Zuma to wear at their lavish family wedding that was held at Sun City in April 2013.
Zuma, who was supposed to be one of the special guests at the wedding, failed to attend because of the controversy over the Gupta aircraft landing at Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria.
The Guptas spent about R790000 on clothes for 18 wedding guests from Manish Malhotra, the designer who dresses some of Bollywood's top stars. Zuma is the only one on the bill who is not related to the Guptas.The bill for the clothes was sent to the Gupta family just weeks before the landing of a chartered aircraft carrying the family's quests at Waterkloof.
The landing, dubbed Guptagate, caused an uproar because the air force base is a national key point.
Leaked Gupta e-mails reveal the family bought Zuma a navy blue "chikankari bandhgala with detailing on the collar", a "black velvet bandhgala with Kashmiri embroidery" and an "emerald green bandhgala" worth 231000 rupees (about R40000).
A bandhgala is the knee-length jacket made famous by India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
In the years since the clothes were bought, Zuma has been seen several times in public wearing a bandhgala that fitted the description of one of the three ordered by the Guptas.
A spreadsheet found in the leaked e-mails from an employee of Malhotra's store in India shows that the billing was sent to Gupta-owned Sahara executive Ashu Chawla.The bill for 4.6-million rupees (about R790000) was for wedding clothes for the bride Vega Gupta and groom Aakash Jahajgharhia, as well as for all three Gupta brothers, Atul, Ajay and Rajesh, and their wives, among others. The president's suit once again illustrates the scope of the largesse the Zuma family enjoys on the Gupta account.
The Guptas have given jobs to members of Zuma's family and helped presidential son Duduzane with his papgeld (child support) woes.
They also footed part of the bill for his lavish Zimbali wedding, notable for its floating stage and glass marquee.
Duduzane was able to afford a R17.8-million apartment in Burj Khalifa in Dubai thanks to his ties to the Guptas. The family also bought the president a palatial mansion in the city's most sought-after suburb.
The Presidency would not comment, despite several undertakings yesterday to do so.