One of the country’s richest women Magda Wierzycka is offering R900 000 of her own money to help authorities track down and arrest Ajay Gupta and Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane who are understood to be fugitives.
She is topping the R500 000 rewards orginially offered by NGO Forensics for Justice. The organisation said it is offering the money because “These people have almost brought South Africa to its knees, it’s now time to bring them to justice. We are offering R100,000 for information leading to the arrest of each one of them and a bonus of R100,000 if the same informant gives information leading to the arrest of all four of them.”
“A bounty is a concept of hunting for people. The idea here is that people keep their eyes open and report Duduzane [Zuma] and the Guptas if spotted to the authorities so there is an arrest. This is not people hunting for criminals and people taking law into their own hands
“I don’t believe that they are walking around in shopping malls. There are people hiding them, there are people shielding them. From my information I know that they are protected by bodyguards, they and their families and anybody else who might be sheltering these people can assist. It is an appeal to those,” she said.
Wierzycka is not convinced that they may have flown to Dubai. Earlier during the week reports were doing the rounds that Ajay Gupta was seen at OR Tambo International Airport en route to Dubai. She said the family was known for being frequent flyers as shown by #GuptaLeaks emails.
“Duduzane might also be here or could have been smuggled out of the borders into Lesotho or Swaziland. Their options for moving around are fairly limited. It is essentially that they are found. I have heard people saying my money would be better used building schools. If they are arrested we may recover more money to build more schools, just what Cyril [Ramaphosa] said he plans to do last night,” she said.
The staunch supporter of whistleblowers and advocate of cleaning up in the rot in Corporate South Africa said she doesn’t have a wish list for Ramaphosa’s rumoured Cabinet reshuffle, but wishes for competent people.
“I would like to see competent people in Cabinet. There are a lot of good people. I don’t have a wish list. You want people with integrity and international reputation for the minister of finance. It must be someone who can speak to creditors and investors. I think there a lot of credible people that Cyril [Ramaphosa] has at his disposal and he must just make sure those are appointed,” she explained.
An additional R500 000 has been offered as top-up for the the initial R500 00o by Forensic for Justice reward “for Gupta and Duduzane.” She is offering a further R200 000 “for the first bodyguard to Ajay Gupta who phones in”. She said the bodyguard will still receive the money even if the person who made the call is the “wife or girlfriend.”
She is also offering a R200 000 reward to “the first of the eight who appeared in Bloemfontein Magistrate Court to turn state witness.” She is not optimistic that any of the “Gupta lieutenants” will turn state witnesse but “the civil servants looked shell shocked. I am not trying to bribe them but I am sure they have information the authorities can use.”
An earlier version of this story stated that the initial R500 000 was offered by Wierzycka. It was, in fact, offered by Forensics for Justice. The Citizen regrets this error.