‘My turn to bankroll poor’s studies’
DEPUTY Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who may not have completed his law studies without the generous support of an Ixopo businessman, says he is paying it forward by making it financially possible for childheaded households to gain an education.
In one of his first interviews since the story broke recently, Justice Zondo told POST last week that similarly to Suliman Bux, who had provided his family with monthly grocery vouchers, he, too, was striving to make a difference in the lives of others.
“Since I finished my degree, I have been trying to do my bit in my own small way. I have been helping students with challenges, especially from families who don’t have people working, those that are child-headed, with contributions. I help with their pay for education. That is an investment for a family because the child can grow up and take care of that family,” said Zondo.
He said he remembered Bux, who owned the local supermarket his family frequented, as being a friendly man, who often wore safari suits.
“I used to see him in the shop. He was always visible and talking to customers and walking around,” he recalled.
Back in 1981, Zondo, then aged 20, was in desperate need of a loan to fund his law studies.
He decided to ask the owner of the store, Bux, for the money.
“I didn’t know anyone who would give a 20-year-old a loan, but I was thinking of who would have that kind of money and somehow I thought of him and thought, let me just ask him.”
And so one Saturday morning, without telling his mother where he was going, Zondo went out to the store in Ixopo and asked Bux for the loan.
“I told him my problem, but he didn’t want to give me money. Instead he gave me vouchers (for his store), so that my mother could buy enough to feed my family once a month. And so I was able to do my studies.”
The story of Zondo, 57, and Bux, 76, came into the spotlight recently when Zondo spoke of Bux’s generosity in a video that went viral shortly after he was sworn in as deputy chief justice.
He told POST arrangements were in place to meet Bux now that the fasting month of Ramadaan was over.
“We spoke over the phone about two weeks back. I will be very happy to see him again.
“They sent me a photo of him and I was happy to see he looked quite healthy.”
He said Bux had played an important role in his life.
“I don’t know whether I’d have been able to go to university at that time if not for him. His generosity made it possible.”
Zondo recalled Bux as being a humble man: “There is no doubt he helped me because he saw me as a deserving case.”
Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Raymond Zondo.