President Jacob Zuma hovers over the #GuptaLeaks like a ghost, nearly unseen. There are no emails between him and Atul Gupta. We haven’t found that anyone wired him funds or wrote down how bags of cash were delivered to Nkandla.
A list of payments made by a Gupta partner in India featured a $15 000 entry for “SA … President’s clothes (Cash)… India”. And yes, there was evidence the Guptas tried to plan a Dubai escape route and bolt-hole for the president – but Zuma denied this.
Rather, the Gupta-Zuma links were always hidden in plain sight: jobs, enormous salaries, homes and mining deals for his family and political supporters. Most notable was his son, Duduzane, who the Guptas spoiled from the day Zuma rose to power. Duduzane featured frequently in the #GuptaLeaks, while his dad was conveniently absent (though, we hear, he was giggling quietly in the next room) while the Guptas ran South Africa.
They controlled cabinet ministers, parastatal CEOs and board members, while billions in tender fees were dished out to themselves and Duduzane. South Africans were fooled at first, but by mid-2017, the #GuptaLeaks appeared to tip the scales against Operation Zupta.