Duduzane: Jonas was not bribed
Duduzane Zuma, son of former president Jacob Zuma, is adamant that he arranged a meeting with former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and businessman Fana Hlongwane to broker a truce between the two comrades and not to bring Jonas into a state capture ambit.
Duduzane appeared before deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the inquiry, after applying for leave to cross-examine Jonas and Hlongwane following allegations before the commission which implicated the younger Zuma in an alleged Gupta plot to capture the finance ministry.
Jonas went public and then testified at the commission in August 2018 that Duduzane had taken him to the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound where Ajay Gupta had offered him R600m to accept the position of finance minister to replace Nhlanhla Nene as part of the state capture project.
Duduzane Zuma took the stand at the state capture inquiry for a second day on October 8 2019, where he listed three grievances. Concluding his testimony, Zuma said he hoped never to see commission chair Judge Raymond Zondo again. Subscribe to MultimediaLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive Comment Moderation Policy: https://www.timeslive.co.za/comments/
While Duduzane confirmed arranging a meeting with Jonas and Hlongwane on October 23 2015, he claimed it had nothing to do with the Guptas and was aimed at discussing a rumour that Hlongwane had blackmailed Jonas.
After Duduzane and Jonas met at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, Duduzane took Jonas to the Gupta family compound in Saxonwold because he felt the Hyatt was too crowded.
Jonas earlier testified Duduzane wanted to drive to a quieter place and that when he got into Duduzane’s car, he had no idea where they were going.
“So he just jumped into my car and decided he was going to go where I was going to take him” asked Duduzane rhetorically, answering his own question with the statement that Jonas “knew exactly where we were going, who we were going to meet and why”.
Duduzane disagreed with counsel for the commission, advocate Phillip Mokoena SC, that the meeting was moved to the Gupta residence to accommodate the family and to have one of the Gupta brothers attend the meeting.
Duduzane said he used the Gupta residence on a daily basis as his preferred venue for business meetings away from the office. Although his own home was 600m away from the Gupta residence, and despite conceding that Hlongwane had met him at his home previously, he maintained it was his private living space and he had never conducted meetings there.
“I don’t conduct meetings from my private residence.”
Zondo pressed the young Zuma on the reason for meeting at the Gupta residence, given Duduzane’s claim that the meeting had nothing to do with the Guptas.
Zondo asked: “What the three of you were going to discuss needed only the three of you and nobody else. One would have expected, one of the three of you has a house close by, that that’s where you would go, because what you had to discuss had nothing to do with the Guptas. That’s what I would expect. Why do we not go to that house to discuss this personal matter among ourselves?
“Of course, to the extent that you – or the three of you – wanted a private meeting, if you went to someone else’s house, there would always have been a risk of people intruding. If it was your house, you would be in charge of the house and if you said you didn’t want anybody to interrupt the meeting, then nobody would interrupt it.”
Judge Zondo also said it was strange that Duduzane, a stranger to Jonas, was tasked with facilitating a meeting for the two friends to discuss an issue like the rumour.
Duduzane said he saw nothing strange in playing this role. “Sometimes everybody in the room knows one another, sometimes there are strangers in the room, but the common issue is resolving the issue. Why me? I’m the one raising the issue with [Hlongwane]. I was the horse’s mouth. I’m the one putting the issue across.”