This material belongs to: BBC.
The son of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has denied involvement in alleged corruption despite his links with controversial businessmen.
Duduzane Zuma told the BBC there was “nothing untoward” about his business partnership with the Gupta family.
Leaked emails about links between President Zuma’s family and the Guptas have resulted in an investigation into possible political influence.
President Zuma and the Gupta family have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC’s Milton Nkosi, Duduzane Zuma said his ties with the wealthy Gupta family were down to nothing more than him being “a likeable guy”.
“I don’t think they wanted anything from me,” he said, adding: “They liked me. As I liked them.”
Duduzane Zuma, who is one of the South African president’s 21 children, insisted that he was “not corrupt”.
“I’ve not involved myself in any corrupt practice, in any corrupt business,” he said.
Members of the Gupta family are accused of using their connections with the president to try to influence political decisions.
They say the email leaks were “politically inspired”.
Bond with ‘brothers’ cannot be denied
This denial is significant and it does not seem to be isolated. On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma, while answering questions in a raucous parliament session, opened his address by “categorically” denying that he ever asked anyone in government to award contracts to his people.
Duduzane Zuma has strong ties with the Guptas. He is their neighbour in Johannesburg’s affluent Saxonwold suburb and still refers to them as his “brothers”. Therefore the strong bond cannot be denied.
The question that remains is whether the denial will make these allegations go away?
It seems to me that even though he said he cannot wait to clear his name in the much anticipated judicial commission of inquiry into State Capture, which will investigate alleged corrupt government contracts – he will need much more in the way of evidence than his disarming charisma.
The African National Congress (ANC) has said that the allegations of corrupt links exposed in the leaked emails have brought President Zuma’s credibility into question.
The ANC has governed South Africa since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.
Since taking office in 2009, President Zuma has faced allegations that his close links to the Gupta family have been used to influence the appointment of key ministers.