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Former SA spy chiefs warned Zuma of Gupta family links

Jacob Zuma in front of the Pietermaritzburg High Court in July
Jacob Zuma in front of the Pietermaritzburg High Court in July AFP/Phill MAGAKOE

Two former South African spy chiefs say nine years ago the CIA had flagged the danger posed by former President Jacob Zuma’s improperly close relationship with the Guptas, a wealthy Indian family. Both men were sacked by Zuma in 2011 for following up on this tip off from their US counterparts.

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Mo Shaik, who headed the South African Security Service which deals with foreign intelligence threats, had close ties the CIA.

In 2011 he was asked by the US agency why the Guptas had bought a uranium mine and where they planned to sell this strategic mineral.

The commission probing "state capture" heard last week that the Guptas planned to become the sole supplier of uranium to the South African government for the nuclear power station they were pressing it to buy.

Shaik and the former head of the National Intelligence Agency Gibson Njenje now say they wish to testify before the commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, which opened last week and could take two years to deliver its findings.

Shaik says he approached Zuma several times to tell him about the danger posed to state security by the Guptas.

Zuma told Shaik the Guptas were the only people prepared to help his son who became a rand billionaire through his connection with the Indian family.

In May 2016 Shaik and Njenje signed a call by 27 top public servants calling for an independent inquiry into state capture.

Zuma has separately been charged with 16 counts of graft linked to an arms deal from before he became president and will next appear in court on 30 November as the criminal case against him continues.

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