More weighty implicating document has emerged implicating President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma has assumed a role akin to that of a presidential advisor or prime minister in South Africa’s body politic.
News at the weekend linked Zuma Jr. to an intelligence report which influenced the 2015 removal of executives at Eskom. The growing power and influence of Duduzane at the heart of the state — the Presidency — suggests the emergence of dynastic politics.
The president’s other son, Edward, is also given significant airtime on matters of state and recent reports revealed policy imperatives are set and discussed in a powerful WhatsApp group he runs.
The Sunday Times reported that Duduzane had allegedly drawn up an inteligence report which resulted in the removal of previous Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona and three other executives from their posts.
This cleared the way for Brian Molefe’s appointment as Eskom boss and the subsequent enrichment of the Gupta family and their business partner Salim Essa. This was through preferential terms given to the coal-mining compay Tegeta which holds the family’s Optimum mine assets.
Duduzane joined the Gupta family when his father was in the political doldrums after being axed by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2005. President Zuma has repeatedly said the family rescued his son. With them, the 34-year-old princeling has built a substantial business career that spans mining, media and other interests. Last year, African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe objected to criticism of Duduzane’s business links to the Gupta family. “Where should Duduzane be? He can’t do business in heaven. I do not subscribe to the notion that politicians’ families are just their extension and that the families and relatives do not have a life of their own . . . that is a sick narrative that is going to destroy people,” he told the Sunday Times.
But Duduzane is not only an independent businessman. He wields significant political authority. Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas told former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that Duduzane had set up the appointment where the Gupta family offered him the job of finance minister late in 2015 before the shock axing of incumbent Nhlanhla Nene. And former Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi confirmed last week that Duduzane escorted his replacement Mosebenzi Zwane to the Union Buildings ahead of his swearing in. They had walked out of the President’s office ahead of Ramatlhodi walking in to get his marching orders.