JOHANNESBURG – South African prosecutors on Thursday provisionally withdrew corruption charges against Duduzane Zuma, the son of former president Jacob Zuma.
Duduzane Zuma faced charges of corruption and conspiracy to commit corruption related to his dealings with the Guptas, particularly that he played a role in a bribe that was alleged to have been offered to Mcebisi Jonas, former deputy finance minister, by the notorious Gupta brothers – the three Indian-born siblings accused of using their relationship with former president Zuma to win state contracts.
The Guptas and Zumas deny wrongdoing.
Zuma appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Johannesburg which confirmed that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had withdrawn the case pending further evidence.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told 702 on Thursday that the decision was taken because one of the key witnesses is still under oath at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Mjonondwane said it was therefore deemed fit to “provisionally withdraw to allow that process to be concluded”.
Reuters said the NPA’s failure to build a case against Duduzane Zuma is a setback for its promised fight against corruption.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has staked his reputation on rooting out corruption since becoming president in February, taking over from Duduzane’s father.
The Guptas have denied there was anything untoward in their relationship with former president Zuma, but their ties are being investigated by the Zondo Inquiry which could take months, or even years, to be concluded. Judge Zondo is then expected to make recommendations and findings.
The Guptas’ whereabouts are not publicly known.
Duduzane was also due to appear at Randburg Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg in March to face charges of culpable homicide over a fatal car crash in 2014, when his Porsche 911 collided with a minivan taxi, killing one woman and seriously injuring another who later died in hospital.
(Reporting by Siphiwe Sibeko; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Jenni Baxter)