South Africa

ANALYSIS

Duduzane Zuma — South Africa’s aspirant president trailed by claims of ties to the criminal underbelly of society

Duduzane Zuma in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court where he was acquitted on charges of culpable homicide and reckless driving. (Photo: Deaan Vivier)

Duduzane Zuma seems to be styling himself as a deeply caring politician with both gravitas and youthful energy. But the path to his presidential campaign is littered with State Capture-tinged claims, linked to some of the worst crimes afflicting the country.

“Part of the problem is poverty. Part of the problem is inequality… Starvation is a real thing.”

These are the words of Duduzane Zuma, the son of medically paroled former president Jacob Zuma who is widely believed to have gorged on state coffers in a feeding frenzy involving several allies during his term in office.

Duduzane was referring to the looting and violence that swept parts of South Africa in July when the country witnessed an attempted insurrection after his father’s imprisonment.

For ease of reference, we will refer to Duduzane as DZ so as not to get confused between father and son.

DZ spoke the above words in a video that made it to social media, but has said he personally does not have any social media accounts. This hardly matters because videos and photographs of him generally end up on various platforms.

If you know where to look on Instagram, there are several photographs of DZ posing in suits or expensive casual wear, along with apparent friends and supporters.

There are videos of him addressing no one in particular, talking to bystanders, and exercising. In some, DZ’s seen playing the fool, and several clips are accompanied by a song, transforming snippets of DZ visuals into music videos.

There is footage, posted in April this year, of DZ on a speedboat, a bubbling wake streaming behind it, in what appears to be Dubai — somewhat cognitively dissonant when taking his words about poverty, inequality and starvation into account.

That moneyed, high-flying setting is a world apart from that shown in videos of him out and about in South Africa shaking the hands of far less financially fortunate residents.

In interviews, DZ comes across as confident, polite and respectful. But gently scrape at this publicly presented veneer and worrying claims of ties to gangsters and the underworld are exposed.

Yes, DZ is innocent of crimes until proven guilty in a court of law and he has in the past denied being corrupt. However, in a country ravaged by State Capture, the claims remain cause for serious concern, and much more so because DZ is intent on becoming ANC president, and running for head of state.

Here we unpack some of the accusations he has faced. 

State Capture and court cases

dudzane guptas
Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Photo: Gallo Images / Business Day / Martin Rhodes)

The most prevalent claims against DZ relate to the controversial Gupta family, now synonymous with State Capture allegations.

Summing up various allegations involving DZ, evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius in February this year told the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, which DZ appeared before and denied being corrupt, that: “There is evidence that Mr Duduzane Zuma benefited substantially from dealings and his involvement with the Guptas and Gupta-related entities.”

In an interview with Newzroom Afrika, DZ said he had no regrets about his business background with the Guptas, but regretted the fallout. He insisted he was not living off the proceeds of crime and had, contrary to that perception, “helped a lot of people out”.

In January 2019, corruption charges against DZ were provisionally withdrawn. Aside from the State Capture allegations, DZ has found himself on the wrong side of the law in other instances.

In July 2019, he was acquitted of culpable homicide and negligent driving in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in connection with the 2014 death of Phumzile Dube

DZ had been driving a Porsche 911 Turbo and crashed into a taxi in Gauteng. Dube died as a result. The not guilty ruling aside, the optics alone reflect poorly on the presidential hopeful — he was in a flashy vehicle that doesn’t exactly scream “one with the people”, and which ploughed into a mode of working-class transport.

A crime boss, the underworld and an assassination

duduzane beeka
Underworld boss Cyril Beeka. (Photo: Supplied)
duduzane krejcir
Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Denzil Maregele)

In underworld and police circles, there have long been suspicions that DZ was acquainted with alleged rogue intelligence operative and nightclub security kingpin Cyril Beeka.

Beeka, who was suspected of working with corrupt police officers, was assassinated in a shooting in Cape Town in March 2011.

Enter Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir — and claims of DZ ties.

In a July 2018 affidavit, Krejcir, who knew Beeka and operated in similar circles, alleged that back in 2010 Beeka had put him in touch with DZ, or as he called DZ, “Duduzani Zuma”.

“I would like to state that during the year 2010 I was a friend of Mr. Cyril Beeka who introduced me to the son of former President Jacob Zuma, Mr. Duduzani Zuma,” Krejcir wrote.

“Mr. Beeka asked me to keep Mr. Duduzani Zuma busy so that the Gupta family and Sahara which is one of the Gupta family company cannot get to him. This is after I asked Mr. Beeka to assist me with the asylum papers so that I can be protected from the politicians from Czech Republic. At some point Mr. Duduzani Zuma promised to assist me with obtaining my asylum papers sorted out at the Department of Home Affairs.”

Krejcir further claimed that he had even been to Jacob Zuma’s homestead at Nkandla.

“During the same year I drove to Nkandla to meet with Mr. Duduzani’s father, President Jacob Zuma. During my visit to Nkandla, Mr. Jacob Zuma was the current State President of South Africa,” his affidavit said.

“I made an agreement with Mr. Duduzani Zuma that I should pay him five million rands. Then I drove to Nkandla around February 2011, I had 2.5 million on me as cash in rands. I handed the money in cash to Mr. Duduzani Zuma as the deposit.”

Krejcir claimed to have become close to DZ.

“Since I was a close friend of Mr. Duduzani Zuma, at some stage during our friendship I bought him a bike worth R230 000 and we were racing in Kyalami every week to keep him away from Sahara people. I am in possession of the recording of the conversations or meeting between myself, Mr. Duduzani Zuma and President Zuma.”

But Krejcir claimed things soured after Beeka’s murder.

“After Mr. Beeka’s death, Mr. Duduzani started to keep a distance from me, someone was pushing him away from me, and my view is that those people were the Gupta family,” Krejcir claimed in his affidavit.

“The Gupta family accord (sic) me of killing my friend and Mr. Duduzani Zuma’s friend Mr. Beeka.”

In another bizarre twist, Krejcir also claimed that he believed the Guptas thought he wanted to have DZ murdered over the R2.5m deposit he wanted back.

“I want to state it categorically that I never wanted to kill Mr. Duduzane Zuma for my money; I only wanted my money back,” Krejcir’s affidavit said.

His claims were reported on, but seemingly came to nothing.

DZ did not respond to these claims when reported on at the time.

Accusations from an exceptionally notorious criminal should be taken with more than a few buckets of salt, but it is nonetheless worrying that the assertions smudge into others in the same realm.

The original gangster (OG) claims 

Jacob Zuma’s name has cropped up here and there when gang issues are discussed in security circles in Cape Town, the heart of the Western Cape — South Africa’s gangsterism capital.

So, too, has his son’s name.

The Mail & Guardian previously reported that Zuma met several top gangsters in May 2011 — just two months after Beeka’s assassination which shook up gang allegiances — as part of a plan to wrest control of the province from the DA to the ANC.

The newspaper reported: “In what seems an extraordinary lapse of judgment and security, the president’s son, Duduzane, allegedly met the delegation at the gates of the presidential estate and ensured that security guards did not record the identities of the president’s controversial visitors, the sources said.”

DZ, according to the article, had declined to comment.

Despite the ANC in the Western Cape denying that the meeting took place, several sources in police circles maintain that it did.

Over the years, at least three sources have claimed that there were also deep links between Zuma, his allies and one of the Western Cape’s most notorious gangs, the 28s.

None of these specific claims resulted in criminal charges.

It is necessary to note here that some of the most seasoned police officers from the Western Cape — who investigated gangs and links to figures within the state, including fellow cops — have hit serious barriers in their careers, ranging from being sidelined to facing corruption accusations themselves.

This was all on the boil during Zuma’s presidency.

More underworld ‘links’

duduzane modack
President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane with suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack. It is understood this photograph was taken inside a Cape Town hotel in mid-October 2017. (Picture: Supplied)

In January 2018, a photograph of DZ sitting with a controversial figure at the One&Only hotel in Cape Town surfaced in the media. The man he was sitting with was Nafiz Modack, who had known Cyril Beeka and who, like Beeka, was central to alleged security-related underworld goings-on in the city.

Modack, also like Beeka, was suspected of working with rogue police officers (Modack, however, claimed rogue cops were targeting him).

It was understood the photograph of Modack and DZ may have been taken in mid-October 2017. By that point, Modack had acknowledged he knew DZ and said he had previously taken care of DZ’s security whenever DZ was in the city.

Modack was subsequently arrested as part of various criminal investigations and is in custody for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear.

Kinnear was murdered in September last year when a gunman shot him several times outside his home in Bishop Lavis in Cape Town.

In his latest book, Into Dark Water — A Police Memoir, Jeremy Vearey, a senior cop who worked with Kinnear and who was controversially fired from the police service in May this year, wrote that Kinnear once told him: “I was approached to join a team to investigate people attacking President Zuma.”

Under Zuma’s presidency — the State Capture years — South Africa’s critical safeguards, including the State Security Agency, the police service and its Crime Intelligence division, were weakened to the point of virtual collapse.

This legacy continues to haunt the country.

If all the claims against DZ and his father about ties to criminals and gangsters turn out to be false, it would suggest that a wide range of individuals have worked hard over several years to tarnish their names.

To what end? Well, politics is a filthy game. But it’s a game DZ is willingly playing. Like father, like son.

Based on how he comes across on social media and television, DZ seems to be energetic, eager and earnest — a heady combination that could rejuvenate certain archaic areas of the political landscape.

But given South Africa’s political track record, it is necessary to look closely at DZ’s personal track record, especially since he has designs on the most powerful position in the country. DM

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 38

  • The Czech fugitive agreed to give Zuma’s son R5m so the latter would influence Home Affairs to issue asylum papers? During the Zuma presidency the ANC’s conflation of party and state had metastasized beyond party to include family members, too. One is reminded of Magashule’s sons in the Free State.

      • Agree Lyn. Never will I forget how DZ was surrounded by eye-struck females who surrounded him, touched him, asking for his signature, when he gave evidence at the Zondo commission. That included staff members of the commission. Like DZ once said in a interview with the BBC, “I am a likeable guy”. Yes, this likeable guy are also likely to get away with….corruption, money laundering, and off course the m-word. Like his father. He is a serious threat to the country, and the millions of gullible and uninformed people will cheer him on in that process.

  • How corrupt and disgusting South African politics has become. Nelson Mandela would be so disappointed to see what has become of his “Rainbow Nation”. All that suffering on Robben Island for nought….no wonder the rest of the world doesn’t want to properly engage with us – “shithole African country” status looms quicker than I thought it would. What a travesty!

    • Not so sure that nm would be disappointed. It all started ebfore him with anc policies to convert government to the party. Cadre deployment is the thing.

  • Ugh. Just ugh.
    Privileged, entitled, duplicitous piece of slime who has been taught by his Gupta masters that South Africans are k*k stupid.
    Hopefully the Zuma name alone will be enough to disadvantage him severely at the polls. Hopefully South Africans aren’t k*k stupid enough to fall for another decade of Zuma robbery and corruption.

  • Oh what a tool. His family name will forever be synonymous to corruption, theft and greed. It will be judged historically as the worst plague ever to have infected South Africa !

  • Maybe this is a distraction, along with many others. High-profile irritants that cause the opposition to spend a lot of time putting out small fires, taking momentum away from their own campaign. Why waste energy going head to head with an incumbent when the already shaky edifice can be destabilised by chipping away at small pieces and low-hanging fruit. Hearts & minds for the medium to long game?

  • In any other country in the world, this piece of rubbish would be in jail already. The fact that he is not just shows how absolutely useless the criminal justice system in SA is.

    • Hermann, “this little creep” – like it or not – is a role model for millions of South Africans, especially the younger ones. He drives a Porsche and kills people with impunity. He shops in Gucci and Prada and is the epitome of “cool”. If you’re living in an “informal settlement” with no sanitation, he represents the ultimate in aspiration and achievement. So what’s not to like?

      • Well said sir. And this is the problem with modern democratic political systems, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Politics has long had the potential to lure the scum of the earth with the promise of power and riches, except these days no actual policies or ideologies, no matter how unrealistic or populist they may be, are even required. Just bling, blather and youtube.

  • The author is wrong…You are not innocent of crimes until a court proves you guilty. If you are guilty you are guilty. A court does not make you a criminal you do.. a court just confirms your guilt to beyond a reasonable doubt. When you commit a crime or injustice you are a criminal period… just because there is not evidence and you get away with it doesn’t make you a honorable or moral person, that makes you even a even more despicable person, as with his dad…

  • The Zuma family are extremely wealthy billionaires. JZ,NDZ and DZ, but without any credible or existing business activities. Go figure.

  • Please DM can you not label this man as a ‘presidential hopeful/ presidential aspirant’ etc., Do you not yet understand the influence that media and reporting have on the public and the country as a whole? If you keep reporting him as such, he will start to be established in the minds of the more gullible public as an actual possible ’presidential candidate’. And I’ll be damned if another from that family slithers up to lead this country again! So please stop. And while you’re at it, please stop giving public voice to the diarrhea that comes out of the EFF. Once again, you give them credence when every piece of crap they spill is spread all over the news. Let tabloids report on them and they will eventually be viewed as the fustians that they are.

  • “South Africa’s aspirant president” is a dangerous title. He is certainly not our aspirant president. What he is, is an ambitious privileged brat with aspirations. Nothing more.

  • The media is doing for this cretin what it did for the EFF. Put them on the map and make sure they remain visible and supposedly relevant. Without the media support, they would have no cachet.

  • Best not to give this young man, who has extraordinary self confidence, too much publicity and airtime. His “charm” is fairly easily disrupted and he really would not have got anywhere without masses of dubious wealth being thrown at him. His father was asking for donations lately- how come his loving son didn’t step in? Or maybe he needs it for his presidential campaign.

  • His personal visits to ‘charm’ members of the Indian community could well be apart of a protection racket – help finance my campaign and I will stop my tribe from attacking you again, if not, you’re on your own.

  • What I would like to understand is , how do these convicted criminals Namely JZ still enjoy the benefit and protection of the state security and SAPS Close protection details (Blue Light Brigades) surely your conviction and time served (if any) preclude you from any further tax payers footing your bills?