3 August 2015, JOHANNESBURG (TSR) – South Africa’s First Lady Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma has denied involvement in any plot to poison her husband, President Jacob Zuma.
In a statement from her lawyers, BDK Attorneys, the president’s wife, known as MaNtuli, on Sunday denied involvement in, or knowledge of, such a plot.
“Our client has not ‘crumbled and confessed’ to having any knowledge of any plot to poison her husband,” BDK Attorneys director Ulrich Roux said in the statement.
City Press reported that MaNtuli had allegedly admitted to knowing about a plot to poison Zuma.
Citing four well-placed sources, it reported that the president’s estranged wife would soon be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
The article appeared in City Press’s sister paper Rapport and on the News24 website.
“The articles contain various false and defamatory allegations concerning our client, the most egregious of which is that our client ‘allegedly crumbled and confessed to having knowledge of the plot’ to poison her husband,” said Roux.
He said no attempt had been made by the publications to verify the allegations or give MaNtuli an opportunity to respond.
“Our client is considering her legal options in this regard.”
It was public knowledge that there was an ongoing investigation and MaNtuli had been co-operating and would continue to do so, said Roux.
“We confirm that no charges have been brought against our client.”
According to the report, a source close to the Zuma family said suspicions arose when Zuma became ill in June last year.
“At some point we noticed that ubaba was very sick and it had nothing to do with the routine check-ups. He was really sick,” a law enforcement insider was quoted as saying.
When it became clear that he had been poisoned, suspicions fell on his wives. Most fingers pointed in the direction of MaNtuli.
MaNtuli has since kept a very low profile, said the family insiders. Last week she was seen at the funeral of prominent ANC leader Thulani Mashaba – it was the first time she had been spotted at a public event since her exile from the family.
At the funeral, she was ushered into a seat towards the back of the hall, next to Deputy Agriculture Minister Bheki Cele and his wife, Thembeka – well away from Zuma and his first wife, Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma, and his fourth wife, Bongi Ngema-Zuma.
She has also not been seen at Zuma’s side during his official trips abroad. During a trip to Russia last month for the Brics summit, Tobeka Madiba Zuma accompanied him.
On trips to Mozambique in May, to China in December and to Senegal in October, MaKhumalo was by his side. MaNgema accompanied him on a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo in October.
MaNtuli was also not seen at her husband’s state of the nation address in Parliament in February, an event all his wives traditionally attend.