Zuma nephew loses millions in scam

2013-09-15 10:44


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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma and a business partner have been left red-faced after blowing millions of rands on a stash of fools gold.

The Sunday Times reported that earlier this year, Zuma and businessman Sikhumbuzo Shamase charted a jet to fetch R50m in gold bars from Conakry, the capital of Guinea. The pair, who travelled with the gold, landed back at Lanseria Airport on 16 February. Their cargo was immediately moved to OR Tambo International Airport for secure storage before being flown to a buyer in Belgium a few days later.

The pair had successfully closed this deal a number of times in the past. However, once in Belgium, representatives of the buyer found the gold was in fact copper and zinc bars with an estimated value of only R7 000.

The businessmen had meanwhile spent R2.5m to charter the jet. They say they were scammed. Shamase said they had bought the gold from a group of about 250 villagers in Guinea and that the Guinea Central Bank had certified the bars at 99.9% pure gold.

Zuma was the director of the now defunct Aurora mine, which left thousands of miners unemployed when it was liquidated last year.

At arm's length from Zuma

At the time of the liquidation, President Jacob Zuma distanced himself from his nephew Khulubuse Zuma's involvement in the embattled Aurora's mining affairs, according to a SAPA report.

"I don't know whether I should just be getting into the business of a person simply because he's a nephew. I don't discuss business easily with my nephew," Zuma told The New Age and SABC at a business breakfast in Port Elizabeth.

Khulubuse Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa Mandela - who are directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems - faced the wrath of unions because of workers not being paid.

President Zuma said disputes involving workers not being paid should be looked into and there should be consequences - no matter who the business may be owned by.

The Mail & Guardian reported last month that the media were being asked for a large fee of R50 000, just to be in the running to cover his wedding to Swazi Princess Fikisiwe Dlamini.

According to the newspaper, the PR company dealing with media accreditation for the occasion was describing it as a "huge royal wedding."

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