Jacob Zuma’s “worst nightmare” will come true early this week when his son Duduzane is charged over his alleged involvement in the Gupta plot to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas. Insiders told the Sunday Times the charges against Duduzane would be the realisation of his father’s “worst nightmare”.
Duduzane Zuma is due to appear in Johannesburg’s Specialised Commercial Crime Court tomorrow where he is set to be charged with corruption.
The son of former president Jacob Zuma will be charged in connection with the role he played in trying to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the Guptas’ Saxonwold compound in October 2015.
At a meeting with Duduzane, businessman Fana Hlongwane and older Gupta brother Ajay, Jonas was allegedly offered the position of finance minister as well as a bribe of R600m.
Highly placed Hawks sources told City Press that Duduzane (34), a longtime Gupta business partner and lieutenant, will be charged with contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
This is the first time that such a senior actor in state capture will face the law on corruption charges.
Duduzane was not supposed to have been in the dock alone, however. Accused number 1 was going to be Ajay Gupta, who allegedly made the bribe offer to Jonas, but he remains at large, Hawks sources told City Press.
On Thursday, Duduzane travelled back to South Africa from Dubai, where he now lives, on the same flight as his lawyer, Rudi Krause. The two travelled together after, Hawks sources believe, Krause had been consulting with Duduzane ahead of his appearance in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Thursday on a separate charge of culpable homicide.
When they landed on Thursday evening, Duduzane was briefly detained at OR Tambo International Airport. City Press has learnt that when he handed his passport to the immigration officers, it was picked up by the system after it was placed on the Hawks’ domestic watch list.
Duduzane’s details had not been placed on the watch list of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) because Hawks officers did not want him to get wind of the fact that he was wanted in South Africa, City Press learnt.
“The Hawks were immediately notified and officers were dispatched to the airport, where a copy of the warrant of the arrest was produced. He immediately wanted to apply for bail, saying he was due to attend his brother’s funeral on Saturday,” said a senior Hawks official familiar with the details of the case.
Another Hawks source said officers could not raise a prosecutor to assist with an immediate bail application as no one from the team leading the state capture investigation was available.
“Duduzane was released on condition that there would be further communication between the prosecution team and his lawyer regarding the arrangements of his first appearance on Monday. The charges relate to the allegations of bribery made by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, who revealed that he was offered a bribe to take the job of finance minister by the Guptas. He [Duduzane] was supposed to appear alongside one of the Gupta brothers, Ajay, who remains on the run and remains on the watch list by the Hawks,” the officer said.
Prosecutors are working feverishly this weekend to finalise the charge sheet ahead of tomorrow’s appearance.
“The charge sheet will probably be completed on Sunday,” the source said.
The case, City Press has learnt, has been further bolstered by a statement obtained from Hlongwane.
The prosecution also obtained CCTV footage which they subpoenaed from the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg. It shows that Duduzane, Hlongwane and Jonas first met there before proceeding to the Gupta mansion, corroborating what Jonas stated in his affidavit.
The source said that on Monday, prosecutors will not oppose bail, provided that Duduzane surrenders his passport and that strict bail conditions are put in place in exchange for his release.
The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act is the primary law governing corruption prevention and enforcement in South Africa, and makes it an offence to attempt to bribe an official or politician, or be an accessory to bribery.
According to a supplementary affidavit Jonas deposed –which was sent from his office at National Treasury in December 2016 to Major General Zinhle Mnonopi, the national head of the Hawks’ anticorruption unit – Jonas stated that he was offered the finance minister position, then occupied by Pravin Gordhan, by Gupta in the presence of Duduzane and Hlongwane.
“Mr Ajay Gupta was present at the meeting, which was held on October 23 2015 … The only person who spoke was Ajay Gupta. There are no records of the meeting of which I am aware. I was invited to the meeting at the Hyatt by Hlongwane and [Duduzane] Zuma; and from there Hlongwane and Zuma suggested a quieter place, which transpired to be Gupta’s residence, though I did not become aware of this until after arriving at the premises,” Jonas stated.
Jonas also told former public protector Thuli Madonsela that Gupta offered him a R600 million bribe to “work with them”.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi refused to divulge any details regarding the case, saying the Hawks would issue a statement regarding developments on Monday.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku referred all questions to the Hawks.
In an interview with the BBC, Duduzane denied any knowledge of a bribe being offered to Jonas.
“Mr Jonas was not offered a bribe by the Guptas. I did meet him and I was present, and there was no such thing that took place. It wasn’t a visit per se, it was a meeting arranged from my side to sort out certain issues that had nothing to do with the Guptas or any other people related to them,” he said.
Gupta has also vehemently denied offering Jonas the job of finance minister or any bribe.
Duduzane, who has been out of the country since his father resigned from the presidency in February, returned to attend the funeral of his brother, Vusi Nhlakanipho Zuma, who died last Sunday of the autoimmune disease, lupus. Duduzane, his twin Duduzile and the late Vusi are the children of Zuma and Kate Mantsho, who committed suicide in 2000.
Duduzane kept a low profile at the funeral service, held at Rhema Church in Randburg yesterday, where his father spoke and blamed the media for his son’s death, saying Vusi’s health deteriorated because of negative media coverage. “The media has been harsh to the family,” Zuma said, adding that his children begged him to prevent the media from attending.
At the funeral, suspended SA Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane delivered an emotional poem. Vusi was buried at Johannesburg’s West Park Cemetery.
On Friday night, Duduzane posted on Twitter: “Has this country lost sense of humanity, to certain extent that one can’t even be given a chance to mourn in peace? What happened to us black people? Do we no longer value each other as beings? Do we hate each other so much that we can’t even understand the pain of grievance? (sic)”
On Friday afternoon, he posted: “A black man is always a suspect.”
On Thursday, Duduzane will appear in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on a charge of culpable homicide after the NPA made an about-turn on its initial decision not to prosecute him.
The case relates to a February 2014 accident in which he allegedly crashed into the back of a minibus taxi after losing control of his Porsche along the Grayston Drive off-ramp on the M1 highway.
Phumzile Dube was killed instantly and three others were injured. A second woman, Jeanette Mashaba, died a few weeks after the accident, but a postmortem established that she died of natural causes, not as a result of the accident.