South Africa’s Zuma denies owning ‘palace’ in Dubai

TJ Strydom

South African President Jacob Zuma has denied owning a “palace” in the United Arab Emirates, his office said on Sunday, after local media reported that an influential family bought him a home in the wealthy Gulf state.

Graft accusations in more than 100,000 leaked documents and e-mails last week heaped more pressure on the scandal-plagued Zuma only days after he survived a no-confidence vote by members of his own party’s top body.

South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper reported that several independent sources had told it that the Gupta family had bought Zuma a retirement home for 330 million rand ($25 million) in an upmarket suburb of Dubai.

The newspaper did not name the sources, but said they included businessmen, senior officials in the ruling African National Congress and people close to the Zuma family. It also cited some of the leaked e-mails.

The Gupta family, wealthy Indian-born businessmen whose companies have contracts with state-owned firms, have denied all allegations of influence-peddling or improper dealings and through a spokesman last week labeled the e-mails “fake news”.

“President Zuma does not own any property outside South Africa and has not requested anybody to buy property for him abroad,” his office said in a statement, adding that the report about a “palace” in Dubai was a “fabrication”.

“The president has also not received or seen the reported emails and has no knowledge of them,” his office said.

South Africa’s anti-graft watchdog called in November for a judge to investigate alleged influence peddling in Zuma’s government and focused on allegations that the brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, influenced appointments of ministers.

Zuma is fighting the report in court and has not appointed a judicial commission to investigate. He denies any wrongdoing.

Last year, South Africa’s top court found that Zuma had failed to uphold the constitution by ignoring instructions to pay back some of the $16 million in state funds spent on renovations at his private home.

(Reporting by TJ Strydom; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Related Content

How Dubai is turning the desert into a mini city for EXPO 2020

With less than a year to the Dubai Expo 2020, CNBC’s Dan Murphy brings us up to speed on the progress as Dubai is turning a desert into a mini city.

Expo 2020: Dubai as a springboard for doing business in Africa

Dubai based Phanes Group is an end-to-end solar power provider operating across Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. CEO Martin Haupts says the Phanes Group is a truly Dubai home-grown company. CNBC Africa's Chris Bishop caught up with him in Dubai and asked how Dubai is serving as a springboard for the company and their work in Africa.

DMCC’s Feryal Ahmadi’s big plans for Africa

In her position as Chief Operating Officer of one of the biggest free trade areas in the world, Feryal Ahmadi has big plans for Africa. Ahmadi from the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) shares her story....

Expo 2020: DDCI, Farmcrowdy partner to tap start-ups for solutions

Ahead of the Expo in Dubai later this year, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) selected Nigeria's Farmcrowdy among ten start-ups for business partnership. The chamber says start-ups are an important step in establishing bridges of communication and cross-border co-operation. CNBC Africa's Kenneth Igbomor caught up with Kenneth Obiajulu, Managing Director of Farmcrowdy Nigeria to get more insight on this partnership....

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Implement substantive reforms, Paris Club creditors tell Zimbabwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe should implement sustainable political and economic reforms and successfully complete an IMF monitoring programme in order to normalise...

BFA Asset Management on Angola’s annual budget outlook

Chinese debt relief given to emerging markets that are facing the pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic may pose some threats to countries that already have vast amounts of debt owing to facilities. Joining CNBC Africa to unpack debt relief implications for Angola and Mozambique and as well as the Angolan annual budget outlook is Rui Oliveira, CEO at BFA Asset Management.

L’Oreal’s Hlengiwe Mathenjwa on how Covid-19 has impacted the beauty & skincare industry

The 111 year old French beauty giant L’Oreal has appointed Hlengiwe Mathenjwa as the new director of its largest manufacturing facility in the Africa and Middle East region. This appointment comes amid the Covid-19 storm that is ravishing most industries globally, Hlengiwe Mathenjwa joins CNBC Africa for more.

COVID-19 lock-down: How the Gauteng government plans to safely reopen schools

Since the gradual opening of the economy after lock-down there has been a sharp incline of COVID-19 cases. The government has the task of balancing the health of the people with keeping the economy going and opening the schools. How is the Gauteng provincial government helping? The Gauteng MEC for education is laying out the plans to welcome back school goers....

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

Uganda growth to sink as low as 0.4% this year – World Bank

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan economic growth is set to plunge to as low as 0.4% in 2020 from 5.6% last year as...

Kenyan sports minister Amina Mohamed to bid for top WTO job

The Geneva-based body is seeking a replacement for Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo who is stepping down a year early at the end of August at a critical juncture for the trade watchdog.

COMMENT: COVID_19 – Crazy times call for crazy measures

On the 10th of September, 2001 – you could walk up to an airline counter, buy a ticket with no ID, walk straight through to the gate, get on a plane, pop into the cockpit to say hi to the captain, and within reason do what you wanted.

How COVID-19 could condemn millions of Africans into extreme poverty

The African Development Bank says an additional 49 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty by the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. This was in the updated forecast of the Africa Economic Outlook, where they expect Central Africa and West Africa to be the hardest-hit regions. Kayode Akindele, Partner at TIA Capital joins CNBC Africa for more.
- Advertisement -