Durban - President Jacob Zuma’s wife Nompumelelo Ntuli has laid a charge of intimidation against a Tanzanian national who she claims tried to force her to arrange a “business meeting” for him with the president.
This was revealed in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court on Monday when the case against Steven John Masunga, of St Andrew’s Street in the Durban CBD, was called.
Masunga’s case was dealt with in his absence because he was in hospital.
The Mercury’s sister newspaper the Sunday Tribune reported that Masunga, 31, who also calls himself Steven Ongolo, was arrested on Friday after he had allegedly tried to extort money from Zuma’s second wife, who is commonly known as MaNtuli.
He told the Sunday Tribune he was a friend of MaNtuli’s and he had information about her that she did not want to be made public.
He claimed he had befriended MaNtuli after being introduced to her by a senior ANC official.
Prosecutor Ndoda January said he did not have information about Masunga’s condition, as he had just been handed a letter that indicated he had been admitted to Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.
The letter was “very vague” and did not provide information about his medical condition or how long he would be in hospital. The police were ordered to obtain a report from Masunga’s doctor if he was not in court at the next hearing.
According to the preliminary charge sheet, Masunga has not been charged with extortion, but he faces one count of intimidation for trying to force MaNtuli to arrange a meeting for him with Zuma on January 15. No further details were divulged.
January said the State would oppose bail for Masunga.
“There is a likelihood of more charges being added... and the issue of the court’s jurisdiction has to be looked at,” he said.
Masunga’s arrest came after he sent an e-mail to newspapers last week in which he alleged that he knew of a plot to kill MaNtuli’s bodyguard, Phinda Thomo, who committed suicide in 2009.
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj declined to comment and the Presidency’s spousal office could not be reached for comment.
The case was adjourned to next week.