The first son has come a long way from being an 18-year-old trainee computer technician who needed a job. The Gupta family has seen to that.
For Duduzane Zuma, it’s now an R18-million apartment in the world’s highest building, the Burj Khalifa; luxury stays at Dubai’s Oberoi Hotel; a lavish wedding at the five-star Zimbali Lodge; and first-class air travel for a December holiday.
Zuma Junior was booked on a number of first class flights – to Dubai and in one case on to Moscow – the tickets for which appear in a tranche of emails obtained by City Press over the weekend.
In all cases, his electronic tickets were sent to him by Sahara Computers chief executive Ashu Chawla.
On December 2015, he travelled first-class on the eight-hour flight from Johannesburg to Dubai for a three-week trip to the emirate, from December 6 to 20, 2015. His air tickets show that he was booked into seat 1A, in Emirates Airline’s ultra-luxurious first-class section, and a subsequent email shows he spent the first three days of his trip in a luxurious suite at the Oberoi Hotel. He was booked in alone.
Emirates first-class offering is lauded as one of the world’s finest, and features private suites, Bulgari toiletries in an on-board shower spa, a personal dining service and a 50kg baggage allowance.
In contrast, Chawla booked Free State premier Ace Magashule’s sons, Thato and Tshepiso, in the far less posh economy class for a trip to the emirate around the same time.
Their tickets, also sent to Zuma’s email address, show that they flew on Emirates economy class from Johannesburg to Dubai on December 15 2015 and that they returned on December 24.
About three weeks after he returned from Dubai, Zuma Jnr was back at the airport on January 13 last year for another first-class trip to the emirate, this time in seat 2F. Zuma Jnr appears to prefer window seats. He returned a day later.
On November 1 2015, he was flown first-class to Dubai and then on to Moscow, where he was booked in for only one night in a junior suite at the five-star Hotel National in the city at a cost of 23 000 roubles (about R5 300).
The first-class travel privileges, however, did not appear to extend to everybody for whom the Guptas and their companies made travel arrangements.
Four apparent members of the Gupta family, three adults and a child, were booked on Emirates in January 2016 from the Indian capital, Delhi, to Johannesburg and back again on economy class for a nine-day trip.