Analyst: Who is Edward Zuma anyway?

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Johannesburg – Comments from President Jacob Zuma's son Edward that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is pushing the interests of an elite few should not be taken seriously, said an analyst.

Reacting to a statement issued by Edward Zuma on Friday, independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga told Fin24 that Zuma’s comments should not warrant a formal response from Treasury, as it was just pure “propaganda”.

In the statement, Zuma claimed that Gordhan was among the corrupt politicians and business leaders working to “amass wealth” at the expense of the country’s poor.

Zuma took aim at Treasury for allegedly withholding spend on government programmes. The president's son also hit out at former president FW de Klerk as well as business leaders Sipho Pityana and Johann Rupert.

“They are thieves who are sucking the wealth of this country using their relationships with these leaders who in return have business interests in almost everything that is profit making,” he said.

Mathekga has however questioned Edward Zuma's statement. 

READ: Edward Zuma takes aim at Gordhan, Rupert and De Klerk

“He [Edward Zuma] has appointed himself as a one-man PR agency for Zuma, part of this orchestrated plan to push against the public discourse that is negative towards Zuma,” said Mathekga.

“I don’t think he is being taken seriously by the way… I don’t think there is any kind of substance to this thing and I don’t think he expects to be taken seriously,” he added.

“Who is he? He is nobody - just the son of the president,” said Mathekga.

“When it comes to his space in the public discourse, I really don’t know what he’s doing in the public discourse.”

Mathekga said that Zuma’s views should not be interpreted as the views of the ANC either.

Comments a 'cause for concern'

However, director of Political Futures Consultancy, Daniel Silke, told Fin24 by phone that because such statements come from the president’s son, it should be a cause for concern.

He added that the statements made by Edward Zuma should be seen within the context of an “acute battle currently raging” between the president and his supporters on the one side, and Gordhan and business leaders like Pityana on the other.

The accusations made by Zuma further risk eroding confidence in South Africa, both from the foreign and local investment sector, he said.

There is also a deliberate attempt to deligitimise the minister of finance and Treasury, Silke told Fin24.

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