Zuma’s office dismisses spouse poison claims

South African President Jacob Zuma and his wife Nompumelelo Ntuli -Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma and his wife Nompumelelo Ntuli -Zuma

Johannesburg. — President Jacob Zuma’s office has dismissed as gossip a Sunday Times report that his wife Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma poisoned him.

“It’s based on total speculation and gossip,” presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

“I’m not commenting any further . . . I don’t comment on gossip.”

The Sunday Times reported that three sources, which it did not name, had confirmed that Zuma fell ill and was hospitalised in June last year. During a trip to the US two months later he learnt he had been poisoned.

He apparently had the diagnosis confirmed by Russian doctors in August. At the time, the international relations department said Zuma would hold low-key meetings and use the time to rest during this visit to Russia.

The newspaper reported that Ntuli-Zuma moved out of Nkandla in January and is living in Durban North with her three children. She is still entitled to benefits from the presidency’s spousal office as she and Zuma are not divorced.

Zuma’s brother, Michael, confirmed Ntuli-Zuma had moved out “not long ago”.

According to the article, Zuma got so sick during June last year that he began to hallucinate and spoke about his mother, who is dead, as if she were still alive. — Sapa.

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