Duduzane Zuma swaps Dubai luxury for South African politics

by MMC
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Duduzane Zuma, son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, abandons his luxurious lifestyle in Dubai to launch the All Game Changers party. Known for his affinity for opulence, Zuma, 41, is seeking to reshape South Africa’s political landscape. Focused on economic growth and moving away from a “welfare state”, Zuma advocates for the empowerment of young people. Despite challenges and family ties to the ANC, he envisions a pro-business future, opposing unnecessary welfare and championing free education. Zuma, currently excluded from the South African banking system, maintains his innocence amid legal controversies.

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By S’thembile Cele and Loni Prinsloo

One of the sons of former South African President Jacob Zuma, known for his love of luxury cars and lavish lifestyle, entered the political fray and founded a pro-business party known as All Game Changers.

After working in Dubai for eight years, Duduzane Zuma said he had “earned his money” and was living the high life: skydiving, jet skiing and sailing on a yacht. Although he could easily have stayed in the UAE, he said he returned home to focus on helping South Africa address its myriad challenges, including growing the economy and moving him away from what he described as a “welfare state”.

Duduzane Zuma, leader of the All Game Changers party, during an interview in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday March 5, 2024. xxx Photographer: Leon Sadiki/Bloomberg

“There are a lot of things that are not working and we are focusing on petty party politics,” and that needs to change, Zuma, 41, said in an interview Tuesday at Bloomberg’s offices in Johannesburg. “We are focused on the youth of this country.”

The younger Zuma revealed his interest in politics when he indicated he would challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa for leadership of the ruling African National Congress in 2022, but he failed to garner enough support to contest the competition. He said he no longer believed the ANC was best placed to move the country forward and that more businessmen should enter politics.

Learn more: Duduzane Zuma: decidedly “pro-business” – the solution South Africa desperately needs

His new party will face an uphill battle to break through among the support base of its more established rivals, and it is not currently among the 360 ​​parties registered with the Electoral Commission of South Africa that can contest national elections of this year. He also cannot count on the support of Jacob Zuma, who severed his ties with the ANC and pledged his support to the recently founded uMkhonto WeSizwe party.

Duduzane Zuma, who described All Game Changers as a “movement”, said he opposed paying welfare payments to citizens who are not elderly or marginalized and supported free education for youth. The private sector must contribute to the operation of public companies, such as the electricity company Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and logistics company Transnet SOC Ltd., although a government structure should have the final say on how they are managed, he said.

Before settling in Dubai, Duduzane Zuma worked and did business with members of the Gupta family, friends of his father and implicated by a judicial commission of inquiry in the looting of billions of rands from state coffers . process known locally as state capture. The Guptas left South Africa for Dubai shortly before the ANC forced Jacob Zuma to resign as president in 2018 to stem a loss of support. Most of their businesses, ranging from mining companies to technology companies, have been closed or placed in a bailout.

Zuma, who like his father and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing, currently does not have access to the South African banking system – a restriction he says was the main motivation for moving to the UAE.

“I’m innocent, I don’t know how many times I have to say it,” he said. “I was arrested, wrongly. They still have to explain why I was arrested. They still haven’t done it.

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