Duduzane Zuma’s return to South Africa may have been more difficult than he anticipated, but trying to leave the country could be even more challenging. The controversial son of former President Jacob Zuma was stopped for two hours at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday night on his return from Dubai, after his passport was flagged – allegedly because of a criminal case opened against him.
While it’s unclear what the charges in this matter entail, it’s understood the case was opened in Rosebank in 2016. According to Duduzane’s lawyer, Rudi Krause of BDK Attorneys, his client was briefly detained at the airport to allow Hawks officers to “confirm his identity”. When this process was completed, he was free to leave.
However, Krause was adamant that no arrest warrant had been issued for his client, despite the case opened against him. He also added that the reason his client had returned was to attend his brother Vusi’s funeral this weekend, as well as to appear in court on Thursday on charges of culpable homicide.
The culpable homicide matter stems from an inquest at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in 2014 that determined Duduzane’s negligence in an accident that claimed the life of Phumzile Dube. On February 1, 2014, the young billionaire’s reckless driving led to him crashing his Porsche 911 into the back of a minibus taxi, causing the accident that claimed Dube’s life.
Four years since Magistrate Lalita Chetty determined there was evidence of his culpability in Dube’s death, the National Prosecuting Authority has finally indicated it wishes to charge him, with his first appearance set down for Thursday.
Earlier this year a summons was issued to his now former lawyer, Gary Mazaham, warning Duduzane to appear as they could not be served on the 34-year-old after he had seemingly fled to Dubai after a series of revelations on his involvement with the controversial Gupta family.
While the Hawks have been coy to comment officially on whether Duduzane would be arrested or charged in further criminal cases, a source within the investigative body has told the Saturday Star that it is unlikely Duduzane will be able to leave the country as easily as he has done before.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that because of the culpable homicide case against him, after he had been charged, it would be up to the court – or an agreement between investigators and Duduzane’s attorneys – to determine his freedom of movement.
It is likely he will need permission from the investigating officer in the culpable homicide case to leave the country, and the court will likely also have to determine if he remains a flight risk. Duduzane Zuma was initially sought for his alleged role in the fraud at the Estina Farm community project in the Free State.
While the project was initially supposed to invest R220million into the farming industry, it is alleged that numerous politicians and businesspeople – including the Gupta family – were able to steal millions from the fund. Media reports have alleged that Duduzane’s company, Westdawn Investments, withdrew money from the project. He was also accused of being aware of an alleged attempted bribe by the Gupta family involving former deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas.