President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube has opened up about the R167 million contract that was allegedly awarded to Uzalo and how viewers have responded to the soapie, in an interview with Anele Mdoda on Real Talk.
A Sunday paper reported that Uzalo, the show she co-produces with Pepsi Pokane, was awarded a R167 million contract for 13 episodes; that the SABC wanted to can the show; and that Zuma-Ncube approached then COO of the public broadcaster Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who overruled the decision allegedly because of his relationship with the president.
She says all the “facts” reported were lies, admitting she “lost it a little bit” when she read the article. However, what upset her most about the article was the timing – right before the municipal elections – and that the journalist who had written it was well respected.
“He sent us questions and we responded and clarified everything and gave him everything he needed, but he completely ignored it because that wasn’t the story he wanted to write. Before elections it must be ‘Zuma’s corrupt and everything close to him must also be corrupt’.”
Though the show is the second most-watched in South Africa at the moment, Zuma-Ncube admits that the president does not watch it at 8.30pm when it airs; she sends him all the episodes at once, further saying that he has fallen a bit behind with the episodes.
As a daughter of the president of the country and the ANC, has she ever threatened not to vote for the ruling party if he does not give her what she wants? No, she hasn’t. In fact, she says it’s Uzalo viewers who have threatened not to vote for the ANC should she not bring back a character they like.
“‘Bring back that character – if not, we’re not voting for the ANC’, and I’m like ‘mina ngingena phi (how is that my business)?’ And then I pick up the phone and I’m like, ‘Dad I’m losing you votes, I’m costing you here.'”
Perhaps this is where the ANC should start looking for answers as to why they lost the biggest metros in the municipal elections.
Though Zuma-Ncube admits there have been some good things about being her parents’ daughter, she says it’s a bit challenging now.
“There’s been some good stuff about having my parents be my parents, but it’s very challenging, particularly with the climate in the country at the moment; it’s very very hectic; it’s not enjoyable to be here and to be trying to work and make a living in South Africa at the moment.”
As a result, she would like to make a movie and tell her father’s side of the story, without going into detail about what exactly she would like South Africans to know.