Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, has denied reports he is planning to retire to Dubai as he faces down mounting dissent in his own party.
Mr Zuma, who is due to remain in office until 2019, was responding to leaked emails published on Sunday.
One email obtained by City Press and purportedly written by Mr Zuma’s son, Duduzane, included a draft of a letter from his father to Dubai’s Crown Prince.
“I am happy to inform you that my family has decided to make the UAE a second home,” the president was quoted as saying in the letter.
“It will be a great honour for me and my family to gain your patronage during our proposed residency in the UAE.”
Mr Zuma denied claims he had written to Dubai’s Crown Prince to make the city his “second home”.
Mr Zuma denied claims he had written to Dubai’s Crown Prince to make the city his “second home”. Credit: AFP
The letter was leaked from emails allegedly linked to the millionaire Gupta family, who run mining and computer businesses and are considered close to the South African president.
However, Mr Zuma strongly denied the reports that he was looking to decamp to Dubai.
“I have my home in Nkandla and I have no intention of living anywhere else. When I retire I will go home to Nkandla. This is a pure fabrication,” Bongani Nqulunga, Mr Zuma’s spokesperson, said on the president’s behalf.
Rumours about Mr Zuma moving to Dubai also circulated last year.
“Unconfirmed reports that Zuma wants to leave the country and seek asylum in Dubai because he doesn’t feel safe in his country,” said Julius Sello Malema, leader of rival party Economic Freedom Fighters in April 2016.
Mr Zuma has faced calls to resign after allegations of corruption.
Mr Zuma has faced calls to resign after allegations of corruption. Credit: EPA
Mr Zuma has faced calls for his resignation from within his party, the ANC, over corruption allegations.
Over the weekend critics within the party unsuccessfully pushed for a vote of no confidence at a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee.
The rumoured move to Dubai has been seen by some as a possible exit strategy for the president.