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Explainer: Is Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla SA’s Ivanka Trump?

The daughter of former President Jacob Zuma, Duduzile Zuma – Sambudla has taken to Twitter, becoming her father’s spokesperson (spin doctor?) on his legal troubles and trumpeting his unproven claims that there’s a political conspiracy afoot. She’s the latest Zuma child to do so, following in the footsteps of her twin brother, Duduzane, who was a business partner to the Gupta family.

Last week, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked the Constitutional Court to send Zuma to jail for two years for refusing to appear before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry. Read more about that here.

Zuma-Sambudla joined in the chorus of Twitter conspiracy theorists this week, who trumpeted the unproven claim that there was a conspiracy in the judiciary to keep President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bank statements a secret. Ramaphosa’s bank statements became part of a court record in a case he is fighting against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (more on that here).

The court sealed those records because they contain personal financial information, which shouldn’t be in the public domain.

But Zuma-Sambudla and others went to town on Twitter this week, with the hashtag #CR17BankStatements, calling for an investigation into the judiciary.

It’s perhaps unsurprising, because Zuma-Sambudla is a fan of Mkhwebane.

While she hasn’t quite moved into the Union Buildings, Zuma-Sambudla has echoes of former President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who has always backed her father.

Last week, Zuma -Sambudla also tweeted pictures of police minister Bheki Cele’s “tea party” at Nkandla. Reportedly, Cele went to Nkandla to try to convince Zuma to go to the commission. But if Zuma-Sambudla is to believed, the conversation was anything but difficult.

She was also present with EFF president Julius Malema met Zuma for “tea”.

Side note: Why does Jacob Zuma not wear another shirt?

Bribed judges aren’t the only conspiracy theory that Zuma-Sambudla’s into. She’s tweeted some pretty dangerous stuff about vaccines, too.

Baseless

Ivanka or no Ivanka, the fact is that Zuma-Sambudla’s claims were baseless and formed part of a classic misinformation campaign, designed to deflect attention away from her father’s legal troubls.

This week, a date was set down for Zuma’s corruption trial: he’ll appear in court on 17 May on corruption charges related to an allegation that he took a bribe during the arms deal of the 1990’s.

It’s pretty dangerous stuff given that she has over 40 000 followers.

As the Sunday Times’ Franny Rabkin reports in this excellent analysis, no one has raised concerns about the bribery claims where it actually matters – in court – and until that happens, the unsubstantiated claims will remain just that: rumours.