‘MaNtuli threatened me’ - Court told first lady’s ‘secrets’ include a love child and a dead bodyguard

2014-02-06 00:00

THE man charged with intimidating “MaNtuli” — one of President Jacob Zuma’s wives — by threatening to expose her “secrets”, including her alleged love child, now claims that she threatened him.

Tanzanian national, Steven John Masunga Ongolo (30) is applying for bail in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court.

The charge sheet alleges he intimidated the president’s second wife, Nompumelelo­ Ntuli (known as MaNtuli), on Jan­uary 15, but doesn’t elaborate.

In his evidence, however, the head of detectives in KZN, Brigadier Clifford Marion, who is personally investigating the case, revealed the alleged threat “had to do with the death of a bodyguard the accused alleges she (MaNtuli) was responsible for, and a child which was not that of the president”.

He said this after the magistrate, Thys Taljaard, said he was being “vague” about the nature of the evidence in the case and pressed him for “facts”.

Marion said Ongolo met MaNtuli in 2010 and wanted her to arrange a meeting for him with the president, but she told him it wasn’t possible.

In January this year he started sending her threatening SMSs, said Marion.

“He said, I am now going to the press to reveal secrets that I know about you,” the brigadier testified.

However, in his evidence Ongolo said the president's wife had, in fact, made threats against him.

He said he and MaNtuli were friends who “knew things” about each other.

“People advised her that this boy was going to talk … I don’t want to say too much … She was advised that she must finish me off quickly. That is when she started threatening me,” he charged.

“Otherwise, she is a very nice lady,” he said, in reply to a question by his attorney, Lekoa Lekoko, who asked if he bore a grudge against her.

Ongolo didn’t elaborate on the nature of the alleged threats she made, but mentioned they were directed against him and his family.

He said he’d told a Colonel Mhlongo about the alleged threats and was advised to report it at police head office.

On the day of his arrest, he said he went to the police head office in Durban to complain about the alleged threats by MaNtuli and also to talk about a break-in at his sister’s salon over which “the police were not helpful”.

He claimed he met with General Ngobeni (Lieutenant General Mmamonnye­ Ngobeni is the provincial commissioner) who seemed “angry” when he mentioned the alleged “threat” against him.

“They started writing down my name, and address and my phone number,” he said.

He said Brigadier Marion then arrived and when his (Ongolo’s) cellphone rang, Marion “snatched” it from him before he could answer it.

“He asked me for my passport and I gave it to him,” he said.

In his testimony, Marion did not mention any meeting between Ongolo and the provincial commissioner.

Marion told the court it was “sheer luck” he’d arrested Ongolo after he’d arrived at their office to complain about the way that a housebreaking incident was dealt with.

Marion said he recognised Ongolo’s name as the person about whom MaNtuli had laid a complaint.

He also knew the cellphone number from which the threatening messages were were allegedly sent to her, and he rang it.

When he heard Ongolo’s cellphone ring, he placed him under arrest.

Marion said he was opposed to Ongolo’s release on bail because he is a Tanzanian citizen in South Africa on a visitor’s permit which expires on February 18, and he posed a flight risk.

Because of the high profile of the case, he also anticipated a public outcry if Ongolo gets bail, he said.

Ongolo said he has a computer business in Tanzania but it is not doing well.

All his family — his parents and siblings — live in Durban.

The case is continuing today.

Cops ordered to remove leg irons

As Ongolo shuffled from the accused’s dock in leg irons to give his evidence from the witness stand yesterday, magistrate Thys Taljaard raised his eyebrows and ordered police to immediately remove the chains, which they did.

He later requested Brigadier Marion to ensure that Ongolo is not brought into court in leg irons again.

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