Duduzane Zuma next to his father, former president Jacob Zuma, ahead of Duduzane's appearance at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, on January 24 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Duduzane Zuma next to his father, former president Jacob Zuma, ahead of Duduzane's appearance at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, on January 24 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Corruption charges against Duduzane Zuma were withdrawn in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday to allow a key witness to complete testifying at the Zondo inquiry into state capture.

“The reason this matter is provisionally withdrawn is to allow one of our key witnesses to conclude leading evidence at the state-capture inquiry and it has also been indicated that such a witness might be cross-examined by Mr Zuma‚” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane Aldo said on Thursday.

Zuma‚ son of former president Jacob Zuma‚ was charged in July 2018 with corruption‚ alternatively with conspiracy to commit corruption‚ relating to an alleged R600m bribe offer made in his presence in 2015 to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas by a Gupta brother.

The NPA denied that it had been ill-prepared or that the provisional withdrawal had been granted because Zuma was the former president’s son.

The Gupta brother‚ who Jonas had identified as either Rajesh or Ajay‚ allegedly offered Jonas the position of finance minister at the family’s Saxonwold compound in exchange for furthering the family’s business interests.

Zuma and the Guptas deny Jonas’s claims. They say he met Zuma and former arms deal adviser Fana Hlongwane over rumours that Hlongwane was blackmailing him. Jonas is expected to be cross-examined about this encounter at the commission.

Meanwhile, the culpable homicide case against Zuma was quickly postponed in the Randburg magistrate’s court on Thursday.  Zuma’s lawyer told the court they had concluded all their preparations ahead of his culpable homicide trial‚ which has been set down for March 26.

Zuma faces two charges of culpable homicide and a count of negligent driving. The charges are linked to an incident in February 2014‚ when his Porsche collided with a minibus taxi near Sandton‚ killing two taxi passengers.

An inquest was held in 2015 in which a magistrate found that Zuma should stand trial for the incident‚ but the NPA decided not to prosecute.

The state reconsidered its decision after AfriForum and former prosecutor Gerrie Nel announced that they intended to pursue a private prosecution.