Durban - President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, has rejected allegations that there has been an attempt to kill Zuma by poisoning his food, allegedly by his controversial wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma.
Ntuli-Zuma’s family have denounced claims that the First Lady and her husband have parted ways, amid allegations that Zuma has kicked his second wife out of his life and Nkandla home after accusing her of trying to kill him. A family member has defended her against allegations that she had been kicked out.
However, Zuma’s brother, Michael Zuma, told The Mercury that Ntuli-Zuma was no longer living in Nkandla, but declined to elaborate.
He referred enquiries to Zuma and Ntuli-Zuma. “Loyo muntu ukhonjwa kwelakubo KwamaPhumulo (that person is said to be in her rural Maphumulo village),” said Michael Zuma.
Sapa quoted Maharaj as saying that allegations that Ntuli-Zuma had tried to kill her husband were “based on total speculation and gossip”.
Repeated attempts to call Ntuli-Zuma failed.
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that three confidential sources had confirmed that Zuma fell ill and was admitted to hospital in June last year.
It was reported that he discovered the poison plot while on a business visit to the US. Not believing what doctors in the US had told him, Zuma reportedly flew to Russia where doctors confirmed that he had been poisoned. It is alleged that he then blamed Ntuli-Zuma.
Ntuli-Zuma was accused six years ago of committing adultery with one of her bodyguards. The accusations were debunked.
This allegedly led to Zuma’s family sending her back to her family in Maphumulo, with orders to return with a goat to be slaughtered to cleanse the family of the accusations.
Lately there had been new allegations that the family were angry about her attitude towards Zuma’s other wives.
However, a pastor, who shares Ntuli-Zuma’s maiden name and who claims to be her brother, told the Mercury last week that allegations about his “sister” were malicious, aimed at damaging her reputation.
“All those who are doing this to my sister will one day be judged by God and they will be punished by fire,” he said.
The man asked to remain anonymous as he feared being victimised. He
said Ntuli-Zuma was a humble wife of the president, who was a born-again Christian and a member of Kingdom Fellowship Church in Maphumulo. The pastor said Ntuli-Zuma had always been a devoted Christian who was happily married.
“The mother of the nation is a straight talker and is clear as a crystal ball. Whenever Zuma and his family are facing trouble, my sister would be there to offer prayers for them.
“When Zuma is preparing to go to party (elective) conferences, she would organise a marquee to be erected at Nkandla for a big prayer,” he said. He said Ntuli-Zuma had developed a thick skin against negative publicity.
“Last Monday we were together in Nkandla reading a story about her in Ilanga newspaper, which said that she had been kicked out of the Zuma family,” said the pastor. “What a lie. She even called Zuma about the story,” he said.
Gospel singer Deborah Fraser threw her weight behind Ntuli-Zuma, saying she had suffered enough bad publicity.
Fraser told Isolezwe that the negative publicity had affected Ntuli-Zuma’s three children.
According to the Sunday Times report, Ntuli-Zuma was now living in Durban North with her children.