Zuma's estranged wife MaNtuli allegedly detained unlawfully by SSA after poison plot

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Former president Jacob Zuma's estranged wife Nompumelelo MaNtuli Zuma (left). Picture by Leon Sadiki
Former president Jacob Zuma's estranged wife Nompumelelo MaNtuli Zuma (left). Picture by Leon Sadiki
  • Former president Jacob Zuma's estranged wife MaNtuli was allegedly unlawfully detained by the State Security Agency.
  • This was after she was accused of poisoning Zuma in 2014.
  • SSA acting director-general Loyiso Jafta told the State Capture Commission that she was placed in detention without going through due processes.

Former President Jacob Zuma's estranged wife Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma was allegedly unlawfully detained by the State Security Agency (SSA) after she was accused of poisoning Zuma in 2014.

This, according to SSA acting director-general Loyiso Jafta, who was testifying before the state capture inquiry on Tuesday.

Jafta told the commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that the poison claims were investigated by the SSA among other law enforcement departments.

He said that in essence, Ntuli-Zuma, or MaNtuli as she is affectionately known, was placed into the custody of the SSA in 2014 following the alleged poisoning plot.

"She was in remand detention without going through the due processes," Jafta said.

READ | No evidence Jacob Zuma was ever poisoned, MaNtuli will not be prosecuted - NPA

Jafta said there was sufficient evidence that pointed towards Ntuli-Zuma being disagreeable to the circumstances she was in.

Zondo pointed out that if she was detained by an organ of state where no law allowed her to be detained, it would be a very serious matter.

On whether Zuma gave the instruction to have his wife detained, Jafta said it would be difficult to determine with absolute certainty that the president at the time had actually given an instruction to do this.

Jafta said it was also the case that functionaries at various levels would anticipate what would please the president and take action on their own initiative with a complete disregard for the law.

The Sunday Times reported that in early August 2014, during a trip to the US, doctors diagnosed an ailing Zuma as having been poisoned.

ALSO READ | Jacob Zuma 'poison plot': MaNtuli wants to sue after '5 years of hell'

However, not trusting US doctors, Zuma went to Russia later that month for treatment. Russian doctors reportedly confirmed the diagnosis.

News24 previously reported that the then state security minister David Mahlobo banned Ntuli-Zuma from Zuma's Nkandla compound after she was accused of being involved in a plot to poison her husband.

In 2019, it was reported that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided not to prosecute anyone for the alleged poisoning of Zuma as there was no evidence to pursue the case.

In an interview with Newzroom Afrika in October 2019, Ntuli-Zuma described the ordeal as "five years of hell". 

"When the news came in, I was very broken. I felt like I was torn apart," she said. 

Ntuli-Zuma said she couldn't believe that she was being implicated. She was informed by Mahlobo that she was a suspect.

"I was surprised and hurt at the same time."

"No one was willing to come near me. No one was willing to work with me. I was isolated from the community that I used to stay in." 


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