Zuma defends son’s Gupta dealings

President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has defended his son’s business relationship with the Guptas‚ telling opposition MPs they were being unfair for saying Duduzane Zuma was benefiting from his father’s presidency.

Zuma was responding to a question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane in the National Assembly yesterday.

Maimane had put it to Zuma that his presidency had benefited a few politically connected individuals‚ including Duduzane, who is a business partner of his friends, the Guptas.

A visibly irate Zuma told Maimane it was unfair of him to single out Duduzane, because he was not trading with government entities.

“I have not heard that his business has ever benefited from government where Zuma has benefited to say give him something,” Zuma said.

“Never‚ I’ve never done that. He’s involved in business in his own accord and there are circumstances why he had to go into business.”

Zuma said there was no law that prevented his son from becoming a businessman.

“There’s a situation that has created unemployment – it’s not created by Duduzane going into business.

“You can’t single out one young person and victimise the person just because he’s the son of the president. It’s not fair‚ it’s not correct.”

Duduzane’s name has featured prominently in the leaked Gupta e-mails that detail the extent of the controversial family’s influence in government affairs.

The Sunday Times also reported last weekend that Zuma had introduced Duduzane to a senior civil servant in the Department of Mineral Resources shortly after his election in 2009‚ asking the official to assist his son.

Zuma also announced that the leaked e-mails would form part of a judicial commission of inquiry that he had just decided to establish.

He said he would announce further details of the judicial commission on state capture in due course.

These would include the name of the judge to lead the inquiry and the terms of reference.

“The president has taken the decision to establish the judicial commission of inquiry and is about to announce when it will start‚ so it’s not as if Rome is burning and nothing is being done‚” Zuma said.

He said the fact that the Gupta e-mails had landed in the public domain was proof that South Africa was a transparent society. “In other countries, you don’t see such things.”

Zuma also said he supported the controversial mining charter unveiled by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

He said the charter had been endorsed by his cabinet as they had to do something about changing the ownership of mines in the country.

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