Deputy President David Mabuza has refused to comment on recent claims by Duduzane Zuma that their relationship has broken down.
In an emailed response to Current Affairs ZA on Monday, Mabuza’s spokesperson Matshepo Seedat said, “Kindly note that the Office of the Deputy President has no comment on the matter. The Deputy President has in the past spoken about that matter and it is a matter of public record.”
Duduzane, the son of former President Jacob Zuma, made the claim in part 1 of his Zooming With Zumas conversation with Zuma uploaded on YouTube earlier this month.
Airlift to Russia for treatment
He lamented that despite airlifting Mabuza to Russia for medical treatment for alleged poisoning in 2015, Mabuza had cut contact with him.
Duduzane explained, “He is someone that was dear to all of us and still is. There’s been a breakdown in my relationship with him and not from my side, [but] from his side. My understanding of it – I clearly don’t know. Maybe one day myself and him will have that discussion.
“He’s someone that I’ve always held in high regard. I’m not asking him for any favours and I’m never asked him for anything. I was part of a team that saved his life.
“I’m not looking for any preferential treatment, but I used to speak to him from time to time post the operation that we embarked on … and then from nowhere it just stopped and I realised that clearly there is a problem.”
Mabuza’s past comments
Duduzane further claimed when Mabuza returned from Russia, he spent “a few days in one of the guest houses in Saxonwold [former residence of the Gupta family in Johannesburg].” Mabuza was Premier of Mpumalanga at the time, while Duduzane was a close business associate of the Guptas.
During a question-and-answer session in Parliament in April 2018, the Deputy President emphasised that he was not indebted to the Guptas for facilitating his airlift.
He said, “Rest assured‚ when I’ve been given a lift to hospital, it does not mean that the Guptas‚ if they’ve done something wrong‚ should not be brought to book. If they’ve done something wrong, they will.
“I used to say that if you come across an accident and you find people trapped in a car, your duty as a citizen is to help those people and take them to hospital. And these people don’t owe you anything for taking them to hospital; you were just helping as a citizen‚ thank you very much.”
Mabuza was reportedly among a group of Premiers, dubbed “Premier league,” which formed the bedrock of Jacob Zuma’s support from the African National Congress’ (ANC) 2007 national conference. Others were former Premiers Ace Magashule and Supra Mahumapelo.
There was widespread expectation that he would back Zuma’s preferred candidate, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for ANC President at the party’s conference in 2017. However, he chose to push a message of “unity.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa subsequently emerged victorious at the conference, leading to perceptions that Mabuza, who also emerged as ANC Deputy President, had “betrayed” the Zuma faction.