‘Everything was cool’: Zuma son denies wrongdoing at graft inquiry
08 Oct 2019

Ex-South African president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane denied wrongdoing at a graft inquiry on Monday, dismissing testimony of two witnesses who placed him in the room when friends of his father are alleged to have offered large bribes.

Duduzane Zuma is a key witness at the so-called “state capture” inquiry set up by presidential decree last year to test allegations of high-level corruption during Jacob Zuma’s nine years in power.

The inquiry has shocked South Africans with revelations about the brazen way in which some people close to Jacob Zuma allegedly tried to plunder state resources and influence policymaking.

But the investigation has struggled to nail down convincing evidence of corruption involving top officials – something analysts say could be a problem for Zuma’s successor Cyril Ramaphosa, who is on a campaign to clean up politics.

Duduzane Zuma was a business partner of the Guptas, three Indian-born brothers accused of using their friendship with the former president to win state contracts in the years leading up to Zuma’s ousting as head of state in February 2018.

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas told the inquiry last year that a Gupta brother offered him a 600 million rand ($40 million) bribe and the position of finance minister at a meeting arranged by Duduzane in 2015, on the condition that Jonas would assist the Guptas with their business ventures.

Duduzane Zuma said on Monday that he did arrange a meeting involving Jonas at a Gupta residence in Johannesburg in 2015 but his testimony about the meeting differed on almost every other detail.

He said the meeting was between himself, Jonas and businessman Fana Hlongwane to discuss a rumor that Hlongwane was blackmailing Jonas and that the gathering had not ended acrimoniously, as Jonas had reported.

By Alexander Winning, Reuters, 7 October 2019

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