Business Day reported on Friday that former president Jacob Zuma’s estranged wife Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, known as MaNtuli, won’t be prosecuted for an alleged poisoning attempt on him in 2014 while he was president, owing to an apparent total lack of evidence.
Earlier this year her lawyers appealed to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shamila Batohi to make a decision on whether she would be charged in the case.
Though MaNtuli has been at the centre of the allegations since 2015, she has consistently denied that she tried to poison her husband.
Her attorney Ulrich Roux said in April: “This matter has been hanging over my client’s head since June 2015. In four years, the SAPS and the NPA have seemingly made no progress pertaining to any further investigation being conducted herein, and whether there is merit or substance in the allegations levelled against my client.”
In 2017, Ntuli-Zuma also appealed to the NPA to charge her or leave her alone.
TimesLive reported at the time that MaNtuli was considering going to court, as there had been no developments in the case.
Roux told the publication: “My client is frustrated about the delay in the investigation, and she was considering her options pertaining to approaching the High Court of South Africa for a declaratory order directing the NPA to make a decision on whether they are proceeding with a prosecution or not.”
Roux told Business Day on Thursday that now that the criminal charges had been formally withdrawn, MaNtuli was considering taking the matter further, since she had faced allegedly politically trumped-up allegations.
Addressing the ANC Cadres’ Forum in Phongolo, KwaZulu-Natal in 2017, Zuma 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 said.
The revelation came after reports that Russian intelligence agents had discovered that Ntuli-Zuma had allegedly 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.
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”.
However, Business Day quotes acting KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions advocate Elaine Zungu now saying in a letter to the Hawks: “There is no evidence that Mr Zuma was poisoned.”
Zuma, it turns out, had never even provided a statement in the matter, so was not a complainant.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)