No bail for Zuma blackmail accused

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Copy of Copy of NM Steven 1 [1] DAILY NEWS Steven Masunga is charged with intimidating Nompumelelo Ntuli, commonly known as MaNtuli, President Jacob Zumas second wife. Photo: Zanele Zulu

Camperdown - A Tanzanian national accused of threatening one of Jacob Zuma's wives was denied bail in the Camperdown Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Zuma's wife Nompumelelo Ntuli - commonly known as MaNtuli - alleged Steven John Masunga tried to force her to arrange a business meeting for him with Zuma.

The offence allegedly took place on January 15.

However, Masunga had complained that it was Ntuli who had threatened him and prompted him to lodge a complaint with KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Betty Mmamonnye Ngobeni.

Handing down his decision Magistrate Thys Taljaard said the fact that Masunga felt his life was so threatened to complain to the province's top police official made him a flight risk.

“He probably thought he was a marked man,” said Taljaard.

The court heard on Tuesday from Brigadier Clifford Marion that Masunga threatened Ntuli with a claim that Zuma was not the father of one of her children.

However, Masunga told the court he was arrested only after he had complained to KwaZulu-Natal's top cop that Ntuli was threatening him.

Masunga said he spoke to a senior police officer about threats he had received from Ntuli, as well as the police's poor handling of a burglary at his sister's salon.

Masunga was arrested by Marion in Ngobeni's office after complaining to Marion about the way the burglary was handled.

He said Masunga had introduced himself as Steven Ongolo at Marion's office. Marion then recognised the name Ongolo from a complaint Ntuli had lodged with police.

Having seen the SMS on Ntuli's phone, he called the number and Masunga's phone rang. He promptly arrested Masunga, confiscated his phone and seized his passport. He said when Masunga was arrested, instead of calling a lawyer, he called a Sunday Tribune journalist.

Taljaard rejected the State's argument that there would be a public outcry if Masunga was released.

“In view, it was just an afterthought,” he said of that argument.

The case was postponed to March 11.

Sapa



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