Duduzane Zuma, in chains, says he does not fear conviction
Duduzane Zuma‚ the son of former president Jacob Zuma‚ insists he is ready to face the corruption case against him "as soon as possible" — and says it is "plain and undisputed that I am not guilty of any wrongdoing".
In an affidavit filed at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg‚ Zuma stated he would plead not guilty to charges that he was involved in an alleged Gupta family plot to "buy" former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
"I do not fear any conviction with reference to the said matter‚" he stated.
"I am informed that the current charges apparently relate to allegations … that I was allegedly present when Mr Ajay Gupta made certain alleged proposals and promises to Mr M Jonas to become the new minister of finance on 23 October 2015. Apparently he also offered to pay him some monies."
He stressed that the allegations that had surfaced about that meeting made it clear "that I‚ in my personal and/or any other capacity‚ made no proposals of whatsoever nature to Mr M Jonas‚ either as alleged or at all".
"At worst for me‚ I was only present when Mr Ajay Gupta allegedly met with Mr M Jonas on the afternoon of 23 October 2015."
Duduzane Zuma has claimed‚ as he has in the past‚ that the Jonas meeting was set up by controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane‚ and was aimed at discussing "personal issues" between Hlongwane and Jonas.
He referred to sworn claims by Ajay Gupta that he had an "alibi" for the time when he was alleged to have met with Jonas — and could prove this alibi with "cellphone records".
"Although I met Mr M Jonas on that day‚ I also denied any wrongdoing with reference to any corruption. I therefore do not fear any conviction based on these allegations‚ as I am innocent of the alleged charges levelled against me‚ and I will stand my trial as soon as possible to prove it.
"I point out that this charge has already been under investigation since March 2016‚ and as far as I am aware‚ I was never regarded as a suspect in the matter up until 6 July 2018."
Zuma has made it clear that he knows he may face further "state capture" charges‚ or be called to give evidence at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
"I am returning to SA fully aware of the fact that there is a pending commission of inquiry on state capture at which I may have to give evidence and at which I may indeed wish to give evidence‚ if I am required to do so.
"I am also aware that as unjustified as any possible criminal charges flowing from such allegations might be‚ there in fact might be possible criminal charges flowing from such allegations. I deny that I am guilty of any criminal acts in relation to these averments."
In his bail affidavit‚ Zuma also accused the Hawks of unlawfully arresting him "without a warrant of arrest" when he arrived in SA last week. Zuma flew in from Dubai — where he has been living since January this year — so that he could attend his younger brother Vusi’s funeral and appear in court on culpable homicide charges.
He was at pains to point out that he had agreed to hand himself over to the authorities following this allegedly unlawful arrest and had "co-operated fully" with the authorities.
According to Duduzane‚ this showed that he was not a flight risk and should be granted bail.
"I do not wish to live the life of a fugitive‚ or to expose my wife and children to such a life of fugitives. I also do not want to embarrass my family and to be known as a fugitive of justice‚" he stated under oath.
Throughout his bail affidavit‚ Zuma stressed that he needed his passport in order to travel for work. As part of his bail deal with the state‚ however‚ he has now handed his two passports over.
He arrived for his court appearance with leg irons around his ankles.
"Why do you have those around your legs?" one reporter asked. "Do the cops think you’re going to run?"
He shook his head‚ clearly uncomfortable with the question. "I actually like this look‚" he said‚ smiling. "They’re like gold chains."