President Jacob Zuma’s two daughters’ offer to volunteer at Luthuli House has backfired, sparking allegations of nepotism.
While the ANC insists that the two are not getting paid but are just “helping out”, some employees have questioned their presence on the 10th floor of Luthuli House, the seat of the ANC presidency.
Zuma’s second eldest daughter, Gugulethu Zuma, who celebrates her 27th birthday on Monday, launched her national acting career last year when she was cast in SABC3’s popular soapie Isidingo.
She left the soapie earlier this year to star in DSTV comedy sitcom It’s for Life on the Mzansi Magic channel with her sister Nokuthula Zuma. The show was produced by their production company Nyenyedzi Productions.
Her 22-year-old sister, Thuthukile Zuma, is a full-time student.
The two have been spending Mondays and Fridays at the ANC’s monitoring and evaluation of membership officer, headed by Jessie Duarte, Zuma’s former chief operating officer in government.
An ANC official, who did not wish to be named because he did not want to violate the organisational policy on communication, confirmed that the women were working in the unit.
“While our comrades go for months without pay at Luthuli House, and some are not employed, the leader’s children are employed in his own office”.
A second source said the sisters’ letters of appointment were awaiting ANC Secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s signature. This could not be independently verified.
ANC spokesman Keith Khoza on Thursday told The Star: “They are not employed by the ANC. They volunteered.”
Khoza said he did not know how often the sisters came to the office nor what their positions were, referring The Star to Duarte. Duarte vehemently denied allegations of nepotism and pay.
“That’s rubbish. They are here as volunteers. They come as volunteers. They are not being paid. I invited them to come, not the president.”
Shortly afterwards, she sent out an internal memo to Luthuli House staff saying the department was shortstaffed and that the Zuma sister had agreed to volunteer. She urged more people to come forward to volunteer, saying her unit needed two more sets of hands on deck.
“Please remember that volunteers built the ANC and we need to encourage voluntarism in our movement. We are also calling for volunteers to assist our unit and we have been able to receive voluntary assistance from Gugu and Thutu (sic) Zuma, who are not paid for the work they do and come in as and when we need their assistance,” said the circular.
The two sisters’ voluntary employment controversy comes after their siblings – Duduzane and Duduzile – faced similar accusations following their involvement in the Gupta family business. Neither Gugulethu nor Thuthukile responded to queries. - The Star