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Generosity or a guilty conscience?

Andrew Harding | 11:37 UK time, Sunday, 12 September 2010

President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, has just revealed that he plans to donate a fortune
- earned abruptly and in somewhat unusual circumstances - to underprivileged South Africans. People who "are needy and disadvantaged like I once was".

All of the money comes from a controversial mining deal that has outraged many here and led one union leader to describe South Africa as "heading in the direction of a full-blown predator state, in which a powerful, corrupt and demagogic elite of political hyenas increasingly controls the state as a vehicle for accumulation".

Interestingly, it's not just Duduzane who has suddenly been overcome by a charitable urge. His partners in the deal, the Gupta family, are also reported to be giving away 70% of their profits.

The timing is interesting. President Zuma - bruised and weakened - is trying to rally support ahead of the ANC's national general council in a week's time. He has brushed aside talk of cronyism in relation to his family. But stand by for plenty more revelations and fireworks in the coming days.


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  • 1. At 4:10pm on 12 Sep 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Personally, I believe it's generosity, a genuine concern for the poor of South Africa.
    Duduzane Zuma will give "needy and disadvantaged" South Africans 70% his share in the deal in which his company, Mabengela Investments, acquired a stake in steel giant ArcelorMittal.
    The deal was reached under legislation that seeks to reverse the inequalities that occurred because of apartheid by transferring ownership stakes in companies to disadvantaged groups.
    So why the criticism?
    Duduzane Zuma: "I am very pleased to announce that I have decided to forgo 70 percent of my proposed allocation and spread it among other South Africans who are needy and disadvantaged like I once was."
    Donated shares will also go to family members of police who have died in the line of duty, veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle, women in rural communities and an education fund for orphans.
    He also said his business partners the Gupta family, prominent ANC supporters whose Oakbay Investments was part of the ArcelorMittal deal, will also donate 70 percent of their stake.
    Estimate of amt: one billion rands (139 million dollars, 109 million euros).
    An opposition member of parliament accused the country's president of turning legislation for Black Economic Empowerment, or BEE, into ZEE - Zuma Economic Empowerment. More damaging to the ANC, the country's main labour federation Cosatu - a key ally of the party - has criticised the deal as corrupt.
    The current BEE policy is based on the view that empowerment means giving millions of rands worth of shares to a few individuals, while they leave the overwhelming black majority as disempowered as ever. This may be true, but I don't really know.
    However, Duduzane Zuma said his role in the deal had nothing to do with his father being president. "I would like to point out that I have been in business long before my father was president."
    Duduzane Zuma: 'We are moving forward. We are here to contribute. We are involved in business'
    Duduzane Zuma: "What you shouldn't forget is there was a period in time when this surname ... was more of a negative than a positive. A lot of people did not want to be associated with (the Zuma family). I've struggled as a business person."
    However, Business Zuma's career only took off after the Polokwane Conference in December 2007, where his father was elected leader of the ANC. Two other companies where he was serving as director before Polokwane have since been deregistered (according to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office - Cipro).
    Mabengela Investments was registered in 2008. Asked if the Guptas - Indian nationals who moved to SA after the end of apartheid in the '90s -should benefit from empowerment deals, Zuma said: They are my partners, I hold them in high regard. But what you need to keep in mind is there are a lot of foreign nationals who've come into South AFRICA, sucked its cream and left.
    Zuma:"Talk about your Europeans and Asians. You look at 50% of the economic benefit still being taken by a lot of European companies to this day. But the Gupta Family are naturalised South Africans - I mean, they're not going anywhere, they're here to stay."
    He said the ArcelorMittal BEE deal came about "just like in any other business". "It was our involvement in an opportunity."
    Zuma, asked whether he would use or had used his relationship with the president to further his own business interests, answered: "The president is an office. The man is my father. That's all I've got to tell you."
    He did add, however, that he had never asked his father to interfere on his behalf in any business matter.
    ArcelorMittal South Africa CEO, Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita commented: “Introducing broad-based BEE shareholders to our operations has been a priority for ArcelorMittal South Africa for some time, but the global economic downturn made it impossible to implement at that time.”
    So some will say, generosity; and some will say guilt.
    I say maybe a little of both, but mostly generosity.

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  • 2. At 05:37am on 13 Sep 2010, The_Revolutionary_Humanist wrote:

    The act of charity is commendable, the process on how it will be distributed and altogether different issue, quite possibly to be reabsorbed elsewhere. Not to mention the murky details on how the deal was closed in the first instance.

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  • 3. At 12:38pm on 13 Sep 2010, Lorne2 wrote:

    It matters not what you do with 70% of the money if it belonged 100% to the people in the first place

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  • 4. At 1:34pm on 13 Sep 2010, bob wrote:

    Ditto that Lorne2!

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  • 5. At 07:55am on 15 Sep 2010, Jamesoftheworld wrote:

    The criticism??
    True Business is not about windfalls caused by politically inspired opportunism ... witness the breakup of the Soviet Union and the obscene windfall profits made by the fortunate 'connected' few ... most of whom had little if any fundamnetal business skills.
    To 'donate' 70% ... or in other words, to keep 30% of these windfall cash handouts is hardly likely to inspire confidence in either the individuals or the system.
    What is perhaps even more alarming will be the manner and election of just who (of the 'unfortunate') will receive this false largesse.
    A sad inditement on what is happening in the 'redistribution of wealth' in South Africa ... one man keeps 30% (as does another family) and the remaining 70% (if equitably distributed, which one must doubt) is shared amongst 45 million??

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  • 6. At 11:57am on 15 Sep 2010, osas wrote:

    jacob zuma and is family is going the way of other African leaders who has thrown the whole continent into abject poverty, by conering states resources for perrsonal use. I wish (THE GREAT MANDIBA) Nelson Mandela
    can speak once again, against this economic tyrant as in the days of LIBERATION frob aperthied.

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  • 7. At 1:47pm on 15 Sep 2010, BA wrote:

    The only thing the ZEE connections are really guilty of is being found out! Charity be damned. This is his way of trying to appease that guilty concience. He gets to keep 30% of approx 155M Euros. That equates to approximately 46.5M Euros which is almost 460million Rands. Pull the other one; it's got bells on it!! and there is the audacious remark that foreigners are creaming the country!! I see a one way trip down the same dirty road that Mad Bob is travelling.

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  • 8. At 4:09pm on 15 Sep 2010, jabush wrote:

    Though it may be early to comment as details are yet to be fully known,but these are symptoms of what has plagued nearly all african countries,especially south of sahara. It is known as corruption, very soon south africans will come to realise its 'MEGA' and very wide spread a mongst the ruling elite

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  • 9. At 6:16pm on 15 Sep 2010, skabobjob wrote:

    aaaargh not again......!and again and again, jump on the freedom train,again and again, who got the most to gain,while we stand in the rain alone with our pain,....not restricted to south africa but increasingly, the poor peoples of africa are the most downtrodden, the most forgotten, the most neglected......and at the bottom of the heap the mamas at the river, washing the clothes on those bitter stones..........AMANDLA! is still just an empty slogan....who got the power? they got the power! until nothing is left,the earth a wastleland of ragged tribes fighting over the last rotten scraps......politics will bring only unhappiness,we need to respect the elders and imbibe the education of ubuntu, the mystic revelation of rastafari which is nothing other than the philosophy of i and i, the oneness of all living beings in this iration, forward gaia!!! legalise the ganja before its too late!

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  • 10. At 01:30am on 16 Sep 2010, Elizabeth Kuranchie-Mensah wrote:

    How should we describe it? Anyway, that is Africa for us!

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  • 11. At 5:52pm on 17 Sep 2010, Echai Uchiba wrote:

    Well sometimes it's good to give back what you have taken illegally. I like the way he cannot really define the source of the money because had someone else questioned him on that,it would have sounded in his ears as force accusations.However,donors by African are not like by the Europeans or Americans where donors demonstrate sources of income.In Africa,patents if they do exist are issued only to barons,preidents' wives,sons and relatives who donot pay taxes nor energy and can never be questioned nor won in court for who is even the magitrate.So whenever thye need votes,they take abit and bribe the waiting poor even if the aid is to last only one month.Ironically when the poor receives it or hear that the usual unfullfiled promises, they forget to see either into the past or future by given 100%. Then come the next mandate.Truly it's time we learn to know the source of food and reason behind it before accepting.

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  • 12. At 2:46pm on 19 Sep 2010, Afrikaner wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 14. At 9:45pm on 21 Dec 2010, Jacques wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 2:49pm on 24 Dec 2010, Mze-djimba wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 16. At 12:57pm on 25 Dec 2010, Richard Knowles wrote:

    There is no easy solution to this type of redistribution issue, so much that was wrong for so long has left a materialistic infrastructure that the core of traditional african community does not relate to and hence the vacuum and the mess

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  • 17. At 10:29am on 07 Jan 2011, Jacques wrote:

    BEE, I will tell you what it means. It means that you as a business can not deal or obtain contracts with the larger companies if your company is not 50% or more owned by black people - suppose to be black entrepreneurs.

    My brother has built a business up over 22 years, from a small backyard enterprise by hard work and investing and reinvesting his hard earned income into the business. Now that it is a flourishing business he has to give at least 50% of it away. YES, give it away!. Why, it is because although their are enough upper middle class and upper class black people in the country who can buy into the business they are not interested. The know that know you have to have 50% black partnership and all they need to do is wait and you will be forced to lower your requirements for partnership.

    The black people know you are stuck and they want the share of the business free. This is what they say "give us those shares and you will see what contracts we will get you" (government contracts), but my brother must give it away. Even if the contracts with government departments is realized, it will most properly be contracts obtained via corrupt connections or family connections not via accepted business principles and methods.

    I understand that the idea behind it all is that part of the business in the country must be black-owned which is fair enough. I also understand that their need to be some abnormal methods to get the white ownership to part with an appropriate part of their business. BEE is following the same route as AFFIRMATIVE ACTION - where people are appointed with no skills/qualifications into positions that require high skill appropriate qualification/knowledge and experience, resulting in a government at all levels that are being mismanaged- and who is the people who is suffering the consequences the most? the poorest of the poor blacks who do not get services etc.
    The application of the BEE idea is that black ENTREPRENEURS will own a high part of the business in South Africa and contribute to the business of the country and its people. The idea is great and something that needed to be done. Unfortunately it is going to end up with some connected blacks sitting with by far most of the shares, not interested in business but just sipping of the profits and most likely also rather want to sell the business and take their share of it in cash, their is always another white owned business which they can "buy" into.

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  • 18. At 12:14pm on 29 Jan 2011, U14767691 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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