A month after he and his twin sister Duduzile (Dudu) Zuma-Sambudla were criticised for allegedly inciting violence on social media, which amplified the July riots and looting, Duduzane Zuma has hit the campaign trail among nervous but wealthy Indian communities to raise funds and assist with hampers for his door-to-door work.
In Laudium, the formerly Indian area outside Pretoria which is fabulously wealthy, he met with local business people to discuss what had happened in July and raise funds for his campaign. Zuma has been campaigning hard in KwaZulu-Natal using the ANC method of door-to-door visits to talk and hand out food hampers. He is on the stumps most weekends now, and his social videos attract high viewer numbers.
Several community leaders in Laudium said Zuma had asked for help funding hampers for a food drive, but his host, Ashraf Peera, denies this: “It was not a fundraiser or a dinner; it was about five people that needed to ventilate some issues during the day over a cup of tea, about our concerns about the unrest.”
Four separate and independent sources told Daily Maverick that the purpose of the meeting was to raise funds. Zuma’s efforts are said to have been less successful among business people in Lenasia and in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, where activists put the kibosh on plans to host him, although a local pastor gave him a platform in Verulam.
Peera is a long-standing local ANC member and leader as well as a community policing forum leader. “He is a friend of mine. I really do not need to justify my friendship with Duduzani (his name is spelt differently in different places). Some Laudium residents have welcomed positive engagements with him as there hasn’t been such for a long time because Indian communities countrywide, as a minority, feel they have been ignored and neglected by the political status quo,” he said.
But two other community members who would not be named said that the area’s ‘big families’ (wealthiest) had turned down the invitation to meet Zuma as he is regarded as having egged on the July violence, which drove a schism between Durban’s African and Indian community groups, especially in Phoenix and other parts of the port city. In addition, he is a business associate of the Gupta family who was at the heart of state capture and corruption of at least three major state-owned companies, according to evidence led before the Commission of Inquiry into state capture.
“I am not aware of this initiative (the meeting) has made any residents of Laudium unhappy, besides for the one or two people that simply may be looking for attention or were not part of this engagement and felt left out,” said Peera. Asked if he was not concerned by Zuma’s proximity to the state capture story, he said: “Secondly matters of state capture and other topical issues around him have been raised and responded to legally… it is not my place to comment on state capture or anything else political that may misconstrue facts or any unnecessary spreading of false information or misunderstandings.”
Zuma’s charm offensive in Laudium included an interview on Glow-TV, a very successful community television station. In the interview with anchor Devan Naicker, Zuma positions himself as a bridge between Indian and Black communities after the July riots which took African-Indian relations to a knife-edge. He said that spatial apartheid had not reshaped how people live and that “People live together, but there are still racial divides. Poverty does not only have a black face, but it has an Indian face, and a coloured face too,” he told Naicker saying that his Instagram video where he said looters should “loot responsibly” had been taken out of context. “I have always had relations with groupings not from my own race group,” he said, saying that he was persuading these groupings, which he identified as Indians, Whites, Afrikaans (speakers), Greeks, and Portuguese ensure that business did not forget the “unemployed, voiceless black majority”.
“I am actively trying to get the minorities back on board. They feel like the current political landscape has ignored them. And I’m saying, ‘Guys, that’s not the case, and I’m here. Let’s move this thing forward.’”
Indian communities across South Africa are skittish after the July violence and rioting and the deaths of 36 people, in what morgue employees confirmed to the Daily Maverick they believe was a massacre. In the days of and following the July violence, race relations reached a fever pitch as the hashtag #PhoenixMassacre trended on social media.
Now Zuma has inserted himself into that tinderbox as a peace-maker. This video in Verulam shows how.
In this article by Chris Makhaye and Nce Mkhize for the Daily Maverick, Nkosentsha Shezi of RET Champions, an organisation of the ANC RET faction, said it would put up either Zuma or suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule as its candidate for the ANC elective conference in 2022. But he has a long road to walk as a meeting in Newlands East in Durban where he hoped to be elected and so begin his journey to the ANC Presidency was disrupted, with members questioning how he had been parachuted in. Sources in the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal have told the Daily Maverick he is unlikely to make it to the top of the party ballot in 2022 and said he would face hurdles even at the branch level. Still, Zuma is on the campaign trail most weekends now, hoping to ensure that his dad was not the last President Zuma.
The fundraising drive suggests that Zuma is struggling to repatriate his share of the profits made from the Gupta empire (because a lot of it has been frozen by international authorities) but it could also be a way to access his funds, said a civil society leader in Lenasia. DM