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Why we stood by Zuma

By Zukile Majova | Jun 18, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's backers, who helped him live large - even after then president Thabo Mbeki had fired him from the cabinet in 2005 - say they do not want jobs in his government.

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's backers, who helped him live large - even after then president Thabo Mbeki had fired him from the cabinet in 2005 - say they do not want jobs in his government.

Zuma's benefactors say the president does not owe them any favours.

They include Don Mkhwanazi, founder of the Friends of Zuma Trust. The trust committed itself to raising R12million to fund Zuma's legal battles with the national prosecuting authority when he faced corruption charges. The NPA eventually withdrew the charges.

Mkhwanazi says they have become "a laughing stock" since people claim Zuma has abandoned them by not including them in his government.

"I get calls from people who say, 'Zuma has abandoned you' - and I tell them we never had an agreement with Zuma that our support would be repaid some day.

"Why should he give us jobs? Any suggestion that we were hoping to get jobs in Zuma's cabinet would be an insult," Mkhwanazi told Sowetan.

He said he was still concerned about how former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy had abused the power of their offices.

Mkhwanazi, who is chairperson of Mkhwanazi Investments, also took a swipe at former Zuma detractors who now support the president.

" People who said the most despicable things about Zuma are now projecting themselves as his closest allies. Some were shocked when Zuma included them in his cabinet."

Comfort Ngidi, a Durban attorney who leads the Democratic Professionals Association of South Africa, said South Africans owed Zuma more than he owed them "because he was the only one who stood up in defence of democracy".

Ngidi led a group of black lawyers who met Zuma at his Nkandla home in 2005 and later formed the association.

Another Zuma benefactor, KwaZulu-Natal multimillionaire Vivian Reddy, also told Sowetan he did not expect any favours from Zuma.

"I am happy to assist in anyway I can and in anyway possible,".said Reddy.

"I do not expect anything in return. I continue to contribute and advise when my expertise is needed."

Other people who played various roles in Zuma's life between 2005 and the ANC's elective conference in 2007 include Durban attorney Barnabas Xulu, the national administrator of the trust, and Elias Khumalo, a friend of Zuma since the mid-90s.

Along with Muzi Kunene, Khumalo founded information technology company Multi-consult.

Kunene, the man who was at the centre of the "hoax e-mail saga", appears destined to spend a lengthy prison term after being convicted recently of the murder of estate agent Lynne Hume.

Also not benefiting from his association with Zuma is George Xolo, the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast pastor who donated R100000 to the trust. He is also a 75percent owner of Corporate Verification Services.

Mabheleni Ntuli, a popular Durban socialite and businessman who once pledged R50000 to the Jacob Zuma Children's Trust, is another benefactor. He threw a R2,5million party for Zuma last December.

Zuma, Sowetan has learnt, has no plans for his many benefactors - including his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, Jürgen Kögl, chief executive of African Renaissance Holdings; and Nora Fakude-Nkuna, a top Mpumalanga businesswoman.


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