President Jacob Zuma has finally opened up about the apparent plots to kill him, revealing why he thought there had been attempts on his life.
Addressing the ANC Cadres’ Forum in Phongolo, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday, the president said he became a target after calling for radical economic transformation.
“I was poisoned and almost died just because South Africa joined Brics [the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa business communities] under my leadership. They said I was going to destroy the country,” Zuma was quoted as saying by IOL.
The Sowetan last year reported Zuma told an ANC NEC meeting in Pretoria that “foreign forces” were making efforts to get rid of him, though he did not mention any names.
His revelation came after reports that Russian intelligence agents had discovered that one of his wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, had been involved in a plot to poison her husband.
They linked this to a period in which the president had fallen inexplicably ill. Since then, she has been banned from Nkandla and sidelined, and it appears this remains the case.
A Zuma family insider allegedly told the Sunday Times at the time that MaNtuli had done “something terrible that could put her in jail for a long time”.
MaNtuli then confirmed that State Security Minister David Mahlobo asked her to leave Nkandla so that a “sensitive matter” could be investigated.
It was again reported last year that MaNtuli was now a suspect in an alleged plot to kill her husband.
According to documents the Sunday Times reports it had seen at the time, MaNtuli was officially a suspect in an attempted murder case against her husband.
National director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams reportedly wrote to MaNtuli’s lawyer in October to say she had been identified as “one of the suspects [in the alleged conspiracy to murder Zuma]”.
Her lawyer, Ulrich Roux, reportedly confirmed to the paper that his client was charged with attempted murder in April last year, but the case went completely quiet after that, with neither the Hawks nor the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) taking further action. He said his client’s constitutional rights were thus being trampled on.
MaNtuli continues to deny she tried to poison her husband.