Duduzane Zuma admits meeting Mcebisi Jonas, denies offering bribe
Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane has denied any knowledge of a job offer and a R600 million bribe made to former finance minister Mncebisi Jonas at the Gupta's Saxonwold compound three years ago.
While the younger Zuma conceded he did meet with Jonas on the day at a Rosebank hotel and then moved to Saxonwold, he denied that Ajay Gupta was part of the meeting that included businessman Fana Hlongwane.
Zuma submitted an affidavit to the state capture commission of inquiry as part of his application to cross-examine witnesses. He said his first interactions with Jonas started when he wanted to invite him to the Gupta family's event - the South African of the Year, which Jonas never attended.
Hlongwane, whom Zuma regarded as ''an uncle'', was rumoured to have been ''blackmailed'' by Jonas, and that is how the Saxonwold meeting came about, according to the affidavit.
''When these [blackmail] rumours started to surface, Mr Hlongwane, in discussion with me, decided to set up a meeting with Mr Jonas in an attempt to clear it up, as Mr Jonas also in his discussions with Mr Hlongwane wanted to know from me directly where these rumours came from. Eventually, a meeting was arranged for 23 October 2015 at the Hyatt Hotel, Rosebank, at about 13h00/13h30."
He said while at the hotel, Hlongwane called him and requested that the meeting be moved to a private venue - the Gupta's Saxonwold compound.
''As a consequence Mr Jonas requested to rather travel with me in my car, leaving his bodyguards behind at the Hyatt Hotel. I point out that at no stage since the suggestion was made that the meeting be moved to the Gupta residence, did Mr Jonas either object thereto or express any reservations or any discomfort to having the meeting.''
When they got to the Gupta residence, Hlongwane also arrived. The meeting took place in a lounge, where Duduzane said he was an observer as Jonas and Hlongwane spoke to each other. Ajay then peered into the lounge and called Duduzane out of the room to ascertain whether the former president's son would be available for a meeting the following day.
''He [Ajay] did not fully enter the lounge or participate in a conversation with anybody at the meeting. He simply called me to him and I stood up and walked towards him, we confirmed my availability and the time for the meeting the next day, thereafter he left the lounge. After the meeting, I was required to stay behind to attend further meetings, and a driver took Mr Jonas to wherever he wanted to be. Mr Hlongwane remained behind with me.'''
From his observation of the meeting between Jonas and Hlongwane, the two resolved their issues, he added.
''My observations during the meeting was that both Mr Jonas and Mr Hlongwane ventilated and discussed the rumours of the blackmail allegations, and eventually reached a stage where, although it was not fully resolved, the dust settled between them, so to speak, and they agreed that should any further issues arise, that they would arrange further follow-up meetings in that regard,'' Duduzane said.
There were no discussions at the meeting on a looming cabinet reshuffle where Nhlanhla Nene would be fired, nor the bribery or ministerial post offer to Jonas, said Zuma. He added that Ajay Gupta was never part of the meeting in the house. In his own affidavit, Ajay denied ever holding a meeting with Jonas.
Last month, Jonas told the commission that Gupta was part of the conversation and had told him that Nhlanhla Nene would be fired as finance minister and Jonas would get the post if he agreed. Gupta offered him R600 million to ''stash away in any account'' or bank in Dubai.
African News Agency/ANA