The end could just be near for the most connected and influential family in the country. After the initial mind blowing e-mails, which showed the extent of Gupta control over Cabinet ministers and parastatal CEOs and board members. The correspondence also gives insight into the role of President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane in presidential matters. Duduzane is a close Gupta associate and is believed to have made billions of rand through this partnership.
Several ministers have been implicated in the #GuptaEmails, which revealed that the Guptas:
• were sent Mosebenzi Zwane’s CV a month before he was appointed minister of mineral resources;
• had staff coach Zwane on how to handle media conferences, including questions about his relationship with the family (he flew on a Gupta jet to Dubai and they picked up the tab for his accommodation);
• intervened to have the powers of the then communications minister, Faith Muthambi, strengthened and were forwarded a presidential proclamation detailing her powers by Muthambi herself before it was signed by Zuma;
• paid for Des van Rooyen’s trip to Dubai after his appointment to the Cabinet in December 2015; and
• had their company’s CEO, Nazeem Howa, prepare notes for ANC Youth League president Collen Maine advising him on how to respond to media questions.
Gupta family associates worked with UK public relations firm Bell Pottinger to launch a smear campaign against the Treasury by painting former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as corrupt, the leaked e-mails show. They also show that Duduzane Zuma put himself in charge of a fightback by the Gupta family as they sought to counter reports about their relationship with several government leaders.
Another series of explosive e-mails show the Guptas were central to a scheme for Jacob Zuma and his family to obtain residency in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. However, Zuma denied the claim this weekend, saying his only home was in Nkandla.
In the wake of these revelations, the Gupta family has denied any wrongdoing. Family lawyer Gert van der Merwe said the reports relied on undisclosed documents and assumptions of impropriety, resulting in a clear intention to influence political perception. He questioned the authenticity of the emails and said he would consider further action if the newspapers had infringed on his clients’ right to privacy.