Duduzane Zuma, a 35-year-old businessman with a playboy reputation, is alleged to be the key contact between his father and the Gupta family, who are accused of wielding undue influence over the government
A slew of leaked emails in recent months has piled further pressure on Duduzane — and his father.
They reveal that the Guptas allegedly paid for Duduzane’s foreign holidays, his 2015 wedding and helped him to buy property.
A long-running corruption scandal in South Africa has embroiled President Jacob Zuma, senior ministers and the wealthy Indian Gupta brothers — but now Zuma’s own son has taken centre-stage.
Duduzane Zuma, a 35-year-old businessman with a playboy reputation, is alleged to be the key contact between his father and the Gupta family, who are accused of wielding undue influence over the government.
Duduzane says he first met the Guptas at his father’s house in the early 2000s.
He was soon employed as a trainee in the Gupta family business before rising rapidly to become a director of one of their companies — at the same time as his father rose to power in 2009.
Duduzane Zuma has tried to keep a low profile, but this week he became the focus of rowdy parliamentary clashes as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition lawmakers taunted his father.
They constantly addressed President Zuma in Zulu as “Duduzane’s father”, mockingly claiming it was a term of respect.
Duduzane also gave a rare television interview, aired on Thursday, saying that he had worked hard to earn promotion to the top of the Gupta business network.
“I don’t think they wanted anything from me. They liked me. As I liked them,” Duduzane told the BBC, sitting in a Dubai hotel room.
“There’s nothing untoward about it... It was just a meeting of minds — they understood me, I understood them.”
President Zuma, who has at least 20 children and has been married six times, is due to stand down in 2019.
But he has been engulfed in corruption scandals that have fuelled growing calls from within the ruling ANC party for him to resign. Among the many allegations, he is accused of unfairly granting lucrative government contracts to the Guptas and even taking their orders over ministerial appointments.
EFF lawmakers are not the only critics of the president who see Duduzane as a chink in Zuma’s armour.