What do Isabel and Duduzane have in common?

2017-09-03 06:01
Duduzane Zuma| Foto: brendan croft

Duduzane Zuma| Foto: brendan croft

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He may not emulate it purposefully, but President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma’s accumulation of wealth is a playbook of that of Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman.

Before he stepped down last week, former Angolan president Eduardo dos Santos signed a deal giving his daughter a stake in the $4.5bn Caculo Cabaça dam, one of Angola’s largest state projects.

The stake will grow her fortune: the woman dubbed “the Princess” or “Daddy’s girl” has amassed a fortune measured by Forbes at over $3bn in 2014.

Duduzane is not quite there, but their paths to fortune are almost similar. Isabel may well be a successful businesswoman in her own right, but Forbes found she grew her position only through access to her dad. While much of her wealth is listed (which means you can calculate it), her investments are nearly always won where the company needs to do business with the Angolan state. In other cases, as with the dam, her dad cut her in.

City Press has long tracked Duduzane’s wealth and, while it is nowhere near Isabel’s, he has amassed a tidy sum. Two years ago, journalist Susan Comrie put it at well north of R150m, as measured by his shareholdings. While Isabel has amassed her own wealth through a network of companies, Duduzane has ridden tandem with the Gupta family, who have been his sponsors and friends from well before his dad took the Union Buildings.

But, like Isabel, all his wealth can be tracked by a straight line to state power. Duduzane holds significant mining interests, all of which were acquired through a friendly licensing regime. His most lucrative stake is in Tegeta, the now infamous coal mine owned with the Gupta family and which won lucrative prepayments and sweetheart contracts from Eskom. His media interests in Infinity (now sold to Mzwanele Manyi) also depended on government advertising.

Both Isabel and Duduzane are favoured children of their respective fathers. President Jacob Zuma has pushed and punted his son, the #GuptaLeaks have shown. A former director-general of the department of mineral resources, Jacinto Rocha, revealed in the wake of the leaks that the president personally asked him to help Duduzane.

The leaked emails further reveal how close to power the 34-year-old man is: CVs were circulated to him to advise on key government appointments and he was central to the attempt to replace former finance minister Pravin Gordhan with his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

Both Isabel and Duduzane are glamorous city-dwellers; they cultivate the images of the woman and the man about-town. And both face the regular rumours that they live in an era where naked accumulation by heads of state is frowned upon, and that they are the ciphers for the fortunes of their fathers.

Read more on:    duduzane ­zuma  |  isabel dos santos  |  angola

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