Leaked e-mails show how the Gupta family pulled out all the stops to stage a lavish wedding for their business partner and President Jacob Zuma’s son‚ Duduzane Zuma‚ with their company‚ Sahara‚ even footing some of the bills for the wedding.
Duduzane married Shanice Stork in Durban in May 2015 at the Fairmont Hotel‚ Zimbali‚ followed by a traditional ceremony at his father’s homestead in Nkandla.
The leaked e-mails give an insight into the close relationship between the Guptas and the president’s son which has long been a subject of controversy.
The plans for the wedding were handled at the top, with the Guptas appointing Oakbay acting chief executive Ronica Ragavan the “technical point of contact with suppliers and service providers”.
Gupta attorneys were roped in to deal with contracts and payments while Ragavan handled drawing 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 which included a 3m floating stage in the massive pool at Zimbali.
A special stage had to be erected with an aisle on the water for the bridal party with a canopy draped in flowers in the middle.
They also were billed about R700 000 for the renting of a full glass marquee.
E-mails show that the Fairmont Zimbali charged them around R3 000 per person for guests to stay overnight at the hotel.
Sahara boss Ashu Chawla and Ragavan dealt with wedding favours options, too.
Attempts to get comment from Duduzane and the Guptas were unsuccessful.
Last year‚ President Zuma defended Duduzane’s relationship with the Guptas‚ telling an ANC meeting in the Eastern Cape that his “desperate” son had struggled to secure a job as an intern because of his association with the then-deputy president of the ANC.
It was reported that Zuma said the Guptas had rescued Duduzane and hired him.
Last year‚ before leaving office‚ former public protector Thuli Madonsela was investigating an allegation that the Guptas had made Duduzane a billionaire.