I stand with Putin and I’m not paid for it, says Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla accused of pro-Russia disinformation campaign

Picture: Timothy Bernard African news Agency (ANA)

Picture: Timothy Bernard African news Agency (ANA)

Published May 14, 2023


Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, has been accused of spreading pro-Russia disinformation. This comes after her tweets have been scrutinised by the US government following her countless pro-Russia tweets.

In a tweet on Sunday, Zuma-Sambudla confirmed that she was interviewed by Russian TV.

The claim was made by the UK-based company Information Resilience’s Ross Burley, who said it was impossible to directly link her to the Kremlin, adding that Sambudla-Zuma indirectly uses her tweets to sway public opinion on Russia across the globe through her more than 230 000 followers.

An investigation ordered by the US and UK governments alleges that she is a key figure in this disinformation campaign on the African continent.

“It is impossible to definitely establish Duduzile Sambudla-Zuma’s direct connections to Putin, the Kremlin, or government figures within Russia. Nor is it possible to unambiguously prove that she knowingly worked on behalf of any disinformation campaigns. However, this report has demonstrated that regardless of intent, Sambudla-Zuma has been the main amplifier of the #IStandwithPutin trend in South African communities on Twitter.”

However, in her defence, Sambudla-Zuma told RT that she, like many social media users, was merely communicating her individual views.

“I am an individual, I am my own person, and I carry my own views. I know that they are talking about my tweets and all of that. My tweets are my own; I am not being paid by Moscow for what they are accusing me of. I am, however, happy that my tweets are reaching people globally because I think that I have quite a lot to say and a position to take. I think this position has also been taken by a lot of people. I stand by Russia, and many other people stand by Russia.”

She said her position stemmed from the fact that Western governments had treated Africa and other countries unfairly.

“For the longest time, the West has been seen as a powerful nation and leader of the world, and the tables have turned. President Putin and Russia are now actually leading the world, and a lot of us, especially in Africa, are really leaning towards Putin now. So the West is definitely going to feel threatened,” she said.

The Star