‘AWB man’ threatened Zuma with snipers

2008-09-14 00:00

Police have been unable to trace a man described as sounding “probably very disturbed” who made threats against ANC president Jacob Zuma’s life, which were to be carried out before Zuma even appeared in court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said yesterday that police had not wanted to publicise the threats on Friday due to the sensitivity of the situation surrounding the court appearance.

He said that the call came through late on Thursday at around 11.45 pm to the 10111 emergency number.

The man, who Budhram said was described as being white — identifiable by his accent — said that he was a member of the Afrikaanse Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), and said he was “very upset with what was going on in the country”.

He said he had snipers in place and that Zuma would not appear in court on Friday because they were going to kill him.

The very emotional man also said that the country would “be okay” with Zuma and President Thabo Mbeki dead, said Budhram.

He said that the operator who took the call could not get any more information from the man who remained anonymous.

“We informed the joint operations centre, which had been set up for the appearance of Zuma on Friday.

“We had all security systems in place and it was not necessary to step up security. The SAPS is a professional organisation and we will not be intimidated by a hoax or crank call,” he said, adding that the threat was “in the back of their minds” on Friday.

He added that the 10111 line was often abused by callers as it is a toll-free number.

“We think our decision to keep the information relating to this call away from the public was the correct one. We had no incidents reported on Friday in relation to the appearance of Zuma and we wish to extend our appreciation to the public and Zuma’s supporters in this regard.”

Budhram denied The Witness access to the recording, saying it formed part of the investigation for the case of intimidation that had been opened in connection with the incident. He said police would study the tape and see if it was possible to trace the call.

While police reported no serious incidents on Friday, the IFP later claimed that their office in Boshoff Street had been vandalised.

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