Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zuma's nephew now charms Chinese

Aurora chairman seals a deal for dealership with state-owned DongFeng

By Wiseman Khuzwayo, July 21, 2010 [Business Report & Independent Online ]

Multimillion rand deals with Asian companies are coming thick and fast to Khulubuse Zuma, President Jacob Zuma's nephew, who yesterday announced the sealing of another contract for a vehicle dealership with DongFeng Automobile Company (DFAC), a Chinese government-owned manufacturer.

Through Mpisi Trading 74, of which he is chairman, Zuma and Dongfeng are to initially set up a dealership in South Africa with plans to establish an assembly plant later.

DFAC is part of the DongFeng Motor Group, which is one of the top three vehicle manufacturers in China. Its portfolio includes the manufacture of army trucks and it is ranked second in the LCV (light commercial vehicle) industry in China.

According to a memorandum of understanding, both Mpisi and DFAC will initially inject R10 million and introduce certain LCVs into the South African market by the end of the year.

The partnership will subsequently introduce other variable models and expand the sales network into other African countries.

Zuma said: "The purpose of the agreement is to make quality vehicles more accessible to the public in general, with strong back-up support in terms of availability of spare parts and after-sales services, while at the same time contributing to job creation and the growth of the South African economy."

South Africans would be sent to China for training.

Yaoping Liu, the deputy general manager of DFAC, said his company would like to make a contribution to the South African economy.

Last week, another of Zuma's companies, Impinda Group, signed a major deal with a South Korean shipping company, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.

The transaction will see Daewoo buying a 49 percent stake in Impinda. Under the deal, Impinda's transport arm would be grown as a commodity, oil and gas shipper.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Daewoo's chief executive, Nam Sang Tae, met the president (Zuma) in Pretoria shortly before Nam signed the shipping deal.

Yesterday's deal comes on the heels of the president's nephew's backing by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the acquisition of two disputed oil blocks in Lake Albert by Caprikat and Foxwhelp, two firms he reportedly owns.

Zuma is also chairman of the embattled Aurora Empowerment Systems that manages Orkney and Grootvlei mines, which were previously owned by liquidated Pamodzi Gold.

Workers in these mines have been on strike since March for not being paid. Water and electricity have been cut off for non-payment.