George Darmanovic

What are the 10 most shocking claims from The President’s Keepers?

A whirlwind of allegations against Jacob Zuma isn’t new. But this time, the president’s reaction is alien. Has JZ been undone by ‘The President’s Keepers’?

George Darmanovic

In any other country in the developed world, the revalations from the Jacques Pauw book The President’s Keepers would have toppled the respective leader by now.

However, this is Jacob Zuma we are talking about. The man needs scandal like we all need oxygen. He has made a living off of cronyism, corruption, money laundering and flouting the rules set for a President.

JZ, so famous for chuckling off stinging accusations, hasn’t been laughing this time. It seems like Pauw, a veteran of investigative journalism, has turned over a few stones even Zuma thought would never be discovered. The allegations that have been levelled against him are the most explosive yet:

What does The President’s Keepers accuse Zuma of doing?

1. Jacob Zuma paid no tax in his first term

The warning signs were there right from the very start. Jacob Zuma is no saint. Hell, calling him a sinner doesn’t really cut it these days.

The President’s Keepers alleges that Zuma failed to pay any tax at all in his first five years in office, managing to go a whole presidential term without making any contribution to SARS. The VIP Tax Unit had to beg the President to start paying, fearing that public knowledge of the situation would create a backlash against their organisation.

2. Zuma pocketed an illegal R1m-a-month as president

He really did start as he meant to go on. But yes, for the first four months as leader, Jacob Zuma was still taking a wage from a private security company. It’s illegal (see ‘conflict of interest’) for a president to do this. But at least he was thoughtful enough to withhold all this information from SARS. They must love him…

3. The Guptas ‘offer business deals’ to Politicians’ children

Whenever you picture the Guptas, it’s hard to see them without a dull-coating of slime. The shifty kingmakers really do know a thing or two about operating in the shadows, and the way they won politicans over is as creepy as it gets. Pauw details just how the Gupta brothers ‘groomed’ the young adults for business:

“This is an old ploy of the Guptas: to dish out benevolence and generosity to the children of those they wish to capture. In much the same way that Duduzane Zuma was captured, the e-mails suggest that Ace Magashule’s sons were similarly primed to become Gupta intermediaries.

Tshepiso Magashule started working for the Guptas as a consultant in November 2010. The year after Duduzane was brought into the Gupta fold. Tshepiso was getting R90,000 a month. Both he and Magashule’s other son, Thato, were treated to an eight-day stay at the super-luxurious Oberoi Hotel in Dubai. This was paid for by Gupta company Sahara.”

4. NDZ leadership campaign is funded by corrupt cigarette company

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma might need to revise her judgement of character here. She has allowed a business relationship to form between herself and Adriano Mazzotti, a cigarette manufacturer who is up to his eyeballs in corruption.

Dlamini-Zuma says she has no problem working with Mazzotti, as he’s ‘never been convicted’. But all of us who’ve ever heard of state capture know that you don’t have to be a convict to be a criminal.

Mr Mazzotti admitted in 2014 his company Carnilinx are complicit in fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. The big three! Yet the presidential hopeful still accepted campaign donations and merchandising deals from the fraudulent outfit.

5. Tobacco Smugglers line Ed Zuma’s pockets for ‘his influence’

Yusuf Kajee is an alleged tobacco smuggler. Him and his two business partners gave Jacob’s son Edward Zuma cushty five-figure payments every month for a few years. They wanted to use his position of privilege to facilitate business deals in SA.

Both parties also fraternised with Lloyd Hill, a notorious name in the Durban underworld. We’re not sure if Edward Zuma really is all that influential. However, we have seen him ‘under the influence’ before.

6. The R1bn network of corrupt spies

Jacques Pauw claims that over R1 billion of taxpayer money was pissed away on a bent intelligence programme called the Principal Agent Network (PAN). The President’s Keeper alleges that the State Security Agency (SSA) splashed money on a department chocked full of corruption and wasteful expenditure.

7. Jacques Pauw reveals ‘SARS Capture’

Jacob Zuma’s good friend Tom Moyane got the top job at SARS. But he didn’t use his power wisely or responsibly. He ousted fellow senior colleagues Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg by framing them for financial wrongdoing.

Investigations into high-level fraudsters and (cough) cigarette smugglers – yes, the same ones linked to Zuma’s ex-wife and children – were eventually brought to a halt by Moyane. He can certainly count himself a lifetime fixture on the President’s Christmas Card List

8. The President employed criminals to catch criminals

As Jacques Pauw reveals, it seems like Jacob Zuma likes his law enforcement heads to be just as morally dubious as he is. Just look at the appointments he’s made over the years: All of these people have allegations or evidence of criminal activity against them.

  • Richard Mdluli, ex-Crime Intelligence boss
  • Nomgcobo Jiba, ex-Deputy Prosecutions head
  • Lawrence Mrwebi, ex-Commercialised Crime Unit head
  • Berning Ntlemeza, ex-Hawks chief

9. Zuma has failed to pay back multiple debts and loans

Whether it’s for Nkandla, state capture, or the sheer cost to the taxpayer of his own legal fees, one thing is always asked of Jacob Zuma: Pay back the money.

However, he never does, and he has good form for squirming his way out of paying back his fair share. The President’s Keepers exposes JZ as a kamikaze financial manager; he took high risk loans and opened multiple bank accounts, in spite of his poor debt record.

10. The new Energy Minister has been trying to spy on Julius Malema

In this business, you keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. David Mahlobo, SA’s new Energy Minister who is determined to plunge us into a new nuclear programme, allegedly asked our favourite corrupt cigarette barron – Adriano Mazzotti – to spy on EFF Leader Julius Malema a few years ago.

As revealed by The President’s Keepers, Mazzotti agreed to do this. But only because he wanted to ‘play both sides’. He really does belong in politics, doesn’t he?