Zuma, Duduzane back to dish up 'truths' on video chats series

Former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane are in the news again after making several claims about deputy president David Mabuza.
Former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane are in the news again after making several claims about deputy president David Mabuza.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The Zuma family is back in the news with a bang and this has little or nothing to do with the arms deal trial which was recently postponed thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Firstly, Duduzane Zuma or Duduzani as his siblings prefer to spell his name, was the talk of town in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown from the far-flung city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as the first part of Zooming with the Zumas was uploaded on YouTube a few days ago. Yesterday, his half brother Edward also stepped into spotlight after he wrote yet another of his many public letters/statements to "comrades".

Edward's statement was to throw his weight on his father and brother's public lockdown engagements via zoom. Edward also issued a stern warning that "Duduzani is yet to speak and some shall go underground" when more is revealed.

Although the motive behind the zoom video-chat series between father and son isn't yet clear, early signs seem to suggest that the exercise is aimed at placing alternative facts in the public arena. 

Duduzane is seemingly the brainchild behind the YouTube series which had almost 100,000 views by Thursday afternoon. Not only does the younger Zuma do much of the talking as he catches up with his dad who is in Nkandla, there's little conversation between the two, it's one of a monologue upon a monologue, with a few chuckles here and there as Duduzane throws in a joke or two.

 In the first episode, one of the alternative facts emerges when Duduzane states that her late mother's suicide note had been leaked to the media. He said the note was found by him when he was called when his mother, Kate, was found unresponsive and frothing at the mouth in her bedroom.

Duduzane said some of the contents of his mother's suicide note made it into some newspapers and he didn't know how, but "that's what happened."

He does, however, say that the last person to have the letter was the then director general in the presidency during Thabo Mbeki's tenure as president, Reverend Frank Chikane.

Duduzane, who was a teenager when his mother died, explained that he had his mother's suicide note before Chikane, who arrived at their home before an unresponsive Kate was taken in an ambulance, wrestled it out of his hand.

 "I remember he [Chikane] took the [suicide] note, we had our little arm wrestle for the note, the last time I saw that note is when is when he took it from my hand," Duduzane tells his father during the first episode. 

Although Duduzane doesn't explicitly say it could have been Chikane that leaked the letter to the media, one gets left with an impression that Chikane may have had something to do with the contents of the letter going public according the Duduzane's explanation. In the letter, Kate had described living with Zuma as living hell before overdosing on pills and taking her own life in Pretoria in December 2000.

Surely the Zumas know that such a letter would, under normal procedures, be contained in the police inquest docket which isn't a classified document. Zuma, who was until two years ago, the most powerful man in South Africa, also touched on his son Vusi's death, claiming he was killed by those who wanted to kill him.

 "I now know it's people who were trying to kill me or reach me, but who were finding it difficult to reach me who took a decision to create or make something that will pain me," Zuma said. 

However, the most bizarre revelation is made by Duduzane saying he facilitated that then Mpumalanga premier and now deputy president David Mabuza, who was gravely ill, be flown to Russia for medical treatment after he was poisoned in 2015. Duduzane seems to lament that Mabuza had deliberately shut him out despite him playing such a role to save his life.

He also mentioned that he went to Russia with Tony Gupta to fetch Mabuza, who's nicknamed The Cat, who was kept in a Saxonwold guesthouse with his wife upon his return.

An impression is created, from listening to the ex-president's son, that Duduzane or Tony were behind the gesture to keep Mabuza in Saxonwold as he recovered following his hospitalisation in Moscow. However, Edward may have let the cat out of the bag about the Zuma strategy of alternative facts. He said in his letter that his father and brother would be dishing up more "truths" in their upcoming zoom video chat series. 

Edward said others, without mentioning their names, would have to hide "as the truth and lies don't match hence they (Zuma and Duduzane) both are proceeding with the series as is, so let's just come to terms with that maqabane (comrades) ngoba (because) we want to know everything, both parties are, however, aware that their discussions have nothing to do with the organisation they belong to, hence they cannot be gagged and micromanaged for selfish and personal reasons and agendas filled with individual ambitions."

Edward added: "Mudala ubaba u Zuma manje akenimuyeke akhulume into ayifunayo umhlaba usamuvumela maqabane naye Kade esho vele ukuthi uzokhuluma izinto ezizothusa abantu nani nathi khuluma Msholozi manje seninenkinga futhi mesekwenza lokho kwahleni bakwethu hawu (Zuma is old, allow him to say what he wants to say when time allows, comrades.

He has been saying he will reveal stuff that will shock people, and toy said he should speak but now you have a problem when he does that.)"Zumas are back in what seems like an entertaining scripted reality show which may have easily been named, Keeping up with the Zumas. 

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