THE PLAYBOY AT THE CEN­TRE OF THE STORM

Duduzane weds and has son two weeks later — but not with his wife

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - QAANITAH HUNTER

When a for­mer lover de­manded main­te­nance for her baby boy, Duduzane Zuma turned to the Gup­tas to get him out of the mess. The pres­i­dent’s son has also emerged as a crit­i­cal link in the busi­ness of state cap­ture

DUDUZANE Zuma be­came a fa­ther two weeks af­ter he tied the knot in a spec­tac­u­lar wed­ding at Zim­bali. The fes­tiv­i­ties at the lux­u­ri­ous re­sort in Bal­lito, on the Kwa-Zulu-Natal North Coast, boasted a full glass mar­quee and, of course, a Daddy Pres­i­dent among the guests. How­ever, the mother of the baby boy, born soon af­ter the fes­tiv­i­ties, was not Shan­ice Stork, his comely bride, but a for­mer lover. The strik­ing young woman with long black hair may not be named to pro­tect the child. When the mother de­manded main­te­nance from the pres­i­dent’s playboy son, to whom did he turn to ne­go­ti­ate the de­tails? Daddy Pres­i­dent? No ways. He went to the Gup­tas, the fam­ily en­twined in so many other as­pects of Duduzane’s life. This week the woman’s Face­book pro­file pic­ture showed her with her son fac­ing away from the cam­era. The pic­ture is cap­tioned: “Proud mommy to the cutest kid in the world.” She also e-mailed Duduzane pictures of their son soon af­ter the boy’s birth. Her Face­book pro­file has since been deleted. Af­ter months of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the for­mer lover and Duduzane via main­te­nance lawyers, Gupta em­ployee and le­gal ad­viser Pi­eter van der Merwe was roped in on the fi­nal main­te­nance agree­ment. He ad­vised that Duduzane pay the mother of his child a lump sum of R3.5-mil­lion into a trust ac­count for his son to avoid be­ing “screwed”. This com­mu­ni­ca­tion was con­tained in leaked e-mails which showed that, af­ter re­ceiv­ing Van der Merwe’s ad­vice, Duduzane sent the main­te­nance agree­ment to Tony Gupta. Van der Merwe, who worked for VR Laser, a Gupta com­pany, con­firmed that he had given Duduzane le­gal ad­vice. Some of his ad­vice in March last year in­cluded: “I know you may not want to bind her too much, but what will hap­pen — if they want to screw you — is that she will ‘in­vest’ the money in a fund/project, with a friend, who will steal/laun­der the money, so that there is no ‘fault’ on her side, and then one can­not say that we want the money back. “If it is in a trust, she can use it, but at least it is pro­tected. She also has the sweet­ener that, if there is money left af­ter he is self-suf­fi­cient, that money can re­vert to her.” The e-mails also show that al­though Duduzane was in a hurry to pay a set­tle­ment amount, his main­te­nance lawyer ad­vised cau­tion, warn­ing the pres­i­dent’s son not “to go in blindly”. Duduzane’s lawyer also dis­missed some of the woman’s de­mands as “ex­ces­sive and un­rea­son­able re­quests”, such as an iPad for the child. Duduzane’s for­mer lover ini­tially de­manded R70 000 for the birth fees, pram, cot and cot li­nen, bath, nap­pies and ba­sic med­i­ca­tion, clothes and a bounc­ing chair, among oth­ers. She also at­tached the fees of three pres­ti­gious Jo­han­nes­burg pri­vate schools — in­clud­ing King David School in Sand­ton and a Craw­ford Col­lege — for Duduzane to pay as part of the boy’s monthly al­lowance. Af­ter months of back and forth be­tween the lawyers, the woman sent Duduzane mes­sages com­plain­ing that she had “no money for our son’s nap­pies or for­mula” and added “luck­ily I’m breast­feed­ing for now”, the emails re­vealed. On Oc­to­ber 8 2015, Duduzane wrote to his lawyer: “I have the sher­iff of the court at my gate with a main­te­nance sub­poena set for the 23rd of Oc­to­ber 2015. Should I ac­cept or should I di­vert him to come to you?” Duduzane ap­peared in court and that is when a set­tle­ment was drafted where a one-off lump-sum pay­ment would be made which his for­mer lover could in­vest to look af­ter the child.

The agree­ment, which is con­fi­den­tial, in­cluded a sug­ges­tion by Van der Merwe that Duduzane have ac­cess to the child, now two years old, at rea­son­able times.

Duduzane did not re­spond to ques­tions sent to him by the Sun­day Times.

The Gupta e-mail leaks re­veal the ex­tent to which Duduzane was not merely a busi­ness part­ner of the Gup­tas but very close to the fam­ily.

At the end of 2015 Duduzane bought an apart­ment worth nearly R18-mil­lion in the Burj Khal­ifa sky­scraper in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emi­rates.

Leaked e-mails show that he bought the prop­erty with sub­stan­tial help from the Gup­tas and their as­so­ciates.

The trans­ac­tion came only months be­fore a let­ter was cir­cu­lated in which the Zu­mas ap­peared to be seek­ing res­i­dency in the UAE.

The Burj Khal­ifa is the tallest build­ing in the world at 828.8m.

This week the Sun­day Times also re­vealed how plans for Duduzane’s wed­ding were han­dled at the top, with the Gup­tas ap­point­ing Ron­ica Ra­ga­van — who is now the act­ing CEO of Oak­bay — as the “tech­ni­cal point of con­tact with sup­pli­ers and ser­vice providers”.

Gupta at­tor­neys were roped in to deal with con­tracts and pay­ments while Ra­ga­van drew up plans for the fancy func­tion‚ “venue li­ai­son and mar­quee di­men­sions and draw­ings, etc”.

Doc­u­ments show that the Gupta fam­ily com­pa­nies paid more than R500 000 for a stage and light­ing for the event. This in­cluded a 3m float­ing stage in the huge swim­ming pool at Zim­bali.

A spe­cial stage needed to be erected with an aisle on the wa­ter for the bridal party to walk along with a canopy draped in flow­ers in the mid­dle.

The wed­ding or­gan­is­ers were billed about R700 000 for rent­ing a full glass mar­quee for the event.

E-mails show that the Fair­mont Zim­bali re­sort charged about R3 000 a per­son for guests to stay overnight.

Such was the Gupta in­volve­ment in wed­ding prepa­ra­tions that Sa­hara CEO Ashu Chawla and Ra­ga­van dealt with op­tions for wed­ding gifts.

Be­fore he mar­ried Shan­ice, Duduzane was linked ro­man­ti­cally to for­mer Miss South Africa Ta­tum Kesh­war.

At the time of his wed­ding, er­ro­neous me­dia re­ports said that Duduzane was mar­ry­ing Kesh­war, who was quick to put to bed those ru­mours.

The leaked e-mails also show how three women sent him a num­ber provoca­tive pictures of them­selves with the cap­tions “Re­mem­ber what you miss­ing” and “That makes you flight (sic) to Paris”.

Duduzane is known to have a rov­ing eye.

Like fa­ther, like son?

AL­MOST ev­ery­one who has worked closely with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma over the tu­mul­tuous past 12 years re­marks about his affin­ity for his chil­dren, es­pe­cially the twins Duduzane and Duduzile.

The twins’ mother Kate com­mit­ted sui­cide in 2000 when they were 18.

In a let­ter she ap­par­ently wrote just be­fore she died — and which was widely cir­cu­lated to me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions many years later as the lead­er­ship bat­tle be­tween Zuma and for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki in­ten­si­fied — she ap­pealed to Zuma to take care of them and their three sib­lings.

“Please, Please will you take care of my dear chil­dren, you must not let them starve since I’ll be gone, pay their school fees to en­able them to fur­ther their stud­ies . . .

“Re­visit your obli­ga­tions as a Fa­ther to have Love/Pas­sion for your own chil­dren,” she al­legedly wrote.

At the fu­neral, the twins’ elder brother Mx­olisi read out a mes­sage from Zuma in which he pledged to be a “pil­lar of strength” for Kate’s chil­dren.

“I will try to now be mother and fa­ther to our chil­dren, but it will be dif­fi­cult,” he said.

Zuma ap­pears to have taken his late wife’s words to heart. In the years that fol­lowed, he grew close and pro­tec­tive of the chil­dren.

They in turn grew fiercely loyal to their fa­ther — go­ing so far as to de­fend him in

With him on their side, they could se­cure his fa­ther’s un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty even when it seemed po­lit­i­cally con­ve­nient for him to ‘throw them un­der the bus’ as he of­ten did with other as­so­ciates

pub­lic when they felt he was un­der at­tack for one rea­son or an­other.

Duduzane and Duduzile were of­ten at his side in the High Court in Jo­han­nes­burg in 2006 when Zuma faced charges of rape.

Duduzile’s tes­ti­mony at the trial was cru­cial in securing her fa­ther’s ac­quit­tal.

But by the time of his ac­quit­tal, the Zuma name had be­come po­lit­i­cally stig­ma­tised, what with his ax­ing as the coun­try’s deputy pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the con­vic­tion of his friend and busi­ness part­ner Sch­abir Shaik on charges re­lated to the arms deal.

Zuma has said on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions that his chil­dren, es­pe­cially Duduzane, paid a heavy price at the time for be­ing his chil­dren. He told an ANC meet­ing in the Eastern Cape in March last year that no one would give Duduzane an in­tern­ship when they dis­cov­ered who his fa­ther was. Enter the Gup­tas. At the same Eastern Cape meet­ing, Zuma de­fended his as­so­ci­a­tion with the con­tro­ver­sial fam­ily — as well as his son’s busi­ness part­ner­ship with them — on the grounds that they were the only peo­ple who were will­ing to give Duduzane a job when the fam­ily was down and out.

Purely from a profit-mak­ing per­spec­tive, the Gup­tas’ in­vest­ment in Duduzane — which en­tailed groom­ing him from an in­tern into be­ing their mul­ti­mil­lion­aire busi­ness part­ner — was a mas­ter­stroke.

With him on their side, they could se­cure his fa­ther’s un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty, even when it seemed po­lit­i­cally con­ve­nient for him to “throw them un­der the bus”, as he of­ten did with other as­so­ciates who had be­come li­a­bil­i­ties.

It is no sur­prise there­fore that the leaked Gupta e-mails point to the 33-yearold Duduzane as the mid­dle­man in the Zuma ad­min­is­tra­tion’s deal­ings with the Gup­tas. Among the damn­ing rev­e­la­tions to emerge from the e-mails is that the pres­i­dent’s son bro­kered a meet­ing be­tween Zuma and a pri­vate Rus­sian com­pany in Switzer­land in 2014.

He also ap­pears to have played a role in what ap­pears to be a Gupta plan to set­tle Zuma in Dubai when he leaves of­fice.

A draft let­ter, shared via e-mail be­tween Duduzane and Gupta-owned Sa­hara Com­put­ers CEO Ashu Chawla, pur­ports to be Zuma’s cor­re­spon­dence with Abu Dhabi crown prince Gen­eral Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In the let­ter Duduzane ex­presses his in­ten­tion of mak­ing the United Arab Emi­rates his sec­ond home.

Last week, Zuma stren­u­ously de­nied that he had any plans of mi­grat­ing from South Africa.

“Duduzane has never spo­ken to me about liv­ing in any other coun­try. He has never shown me any let­ter. It’s shock­ing in the ex­treme. It’s ab­so­lute mis­chief aimed at sow­ing con­fu­sion,” said Zuma.

He is­sued the de­nial af­ter call­ing Duduzane in last Satur­day to ques­tion him about the let­ter.

Duduzane later told a tele­vi­sion sta­tion that he knew noth­ing of the let­ter and sug­gested that the e-mails were the work of peo­ple who wanted to oust his fa­ther from of­fice.

But it has been a week since the e-mails be­came pub­lic and, for a pres­i­dent who claims that some­one im­prop­erly used his name with­out his knowl­edge and per­mis­sion, it is cu­ri­ous that Zuma has not or­dered that any le­gal steps be taken to in­ves­ti­gate the ori­gins of the let­ter.

The e-mails may not be the first ev­i­dence that the Gup­tas use their prox­im­ity to the pres­i­dent’s son to gain ad­van­tage for their busi­nesses, but they re­veal the ex­tent of the prob­lem.

For­mer deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas has al­ready told us how Duduzane took him to the Gupta com­pound in Sax­on­wold, Jo­han­nes­burg, where they of­fered him a job as fi­nance min­is­ter in re­turn for his loy­alty to them.

An­other se­nior ANC leader, Ngoako Ra­matl­hodi, told how he saw Duduzane and Mosebenzi Zwane com­ing out of the pres­i­dent’s of­fice the very day that he was in­formed that he would be re­lieved of his du­ties as min­eral re­sources min­is­ter.

Zwane was later named as Ra­matl­hodi’s re­place­ment.

Through the e-mails, we now know that Zwane’s CV was first sent to the Gup­tas by France Oupa Mokoena be­fore the pres­i­dent made the cab­i­net change.

Judg­ing by the e-mails, the Gup­tas, the pres­i­dent and his son are an un­holy trin­ity through which South Africa is now run. A shadow state, ac­count­able to no one but them­selves.

The rev­e­la­tions have re­newed calls for a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture. Even Zuma’s sup­port­ers now seem en­thu­si­as­tic about it, even though they in­sist that it should be a much broader probe, look­ing into pri­vate-sec­tor in­flu­ence over govern­ment dat­ing back to 1994.

While a com­mis­sion of in­quiry may help shed more light on how un­elected in­di­vid­u­als are sub­vert­ing democ­racy for their self­ish ends, it should not be the only in­stru­ment.

Post-apartheid South Africa’s brief history is not short of ex­am­ples of com­mis­sions be­ing set up to avoid hav­ing any­one be­ing held re­spon­si­ble.

Even in this case, some of the ad­vo­cates of a com­mis­sion of in­quiry, es­pe­cially within the ANC, call for it in the hope that its es­tab­lish­ment will be bogged down in court.

Zuma has a pend­ing court chal­lenge on the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s ear­lier rec­om­men­da­tion that such a com­mis­sion be headed by a judge rec­om­mended by the chief jus­tice, rather than one ap­pointed by the pres­i­dent.

What the e-mails sug­gest is that a num­ber of the coun­try’s laws may have been con­tra­vened and this calls for lawen­force­ment agen­cies to be­gin crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions, even if those run par­al­lel with a com­mis­sion of in­quiry.

As for the pres­i­dent, it is too late for him to dis­tance him­self from the Gup­tas and his son, their busi­ness part­ner.

But if he re­ally wants to con­vince the South African pub­lic that he did not know that his min­is­ters and se­nior civil ser­vants were “re­port­ing to the Gup­tas”, he should pub­licly ask the po­lice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies to im­me­di­ately be­gin a probe into all the al­le­ga­tions about his son, the Gup­tas and him­self.

Post-apartheid South Africa’s short history is not short of ex­am­ples of com­mis­sions be­ing set up to avoid hav­ing any­one be­ing held re­spon­si­ble

MAN AND WIFE: Shan­ice Stork and Duduzane Zuma got mar­ried at Zim­bali re­sort, Bal­lito, in 2015

Pictures: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

THE EXES: For­mer Miss SA Ta­tum Kesh­war was once linked to Duduzane Zuma

PROVOCA­TIVE: This is one of the pictures sent to Duduzane Zuma cap­tioned “Re­mem­ber what you miss­ing” and “That makes you flight (sic) to Paris”

Pic­ture: GETTY IMAGES

HIGH LIV­ING: Duduzane Zuma owns an apart­ment in the tallest build­ing in the world, the Burj Khal­ifa in Dubai

PRES­I­DENT-IN-LAW: A clearly de­lighted Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma af­ter be­com­ing fa­ther-in-law to Shan­ice Stork, with Duduzane next to him

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