One of President Jacob Zuma’s wives have reportedly been ordered off the Nkandla property by State Security Minister David Mahlobo, “pending an investigation”.
Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma’s attorney has confirmed that she and three of the president’s children were now living in Greytown, outside Pietermaritzburg.
Responding to News24 questions, Ulrich Roux, the director of BDK Attorneys, said it was common knowledge that Ntuli-Zuma, also known as MaNtuli, was not currently living in Nkandla.
MaNtuli is the second of the president’s four wives.
“My client has not been residing at the Nkandla homestead since January 2015, after having been instructed by Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, to vacate
the Nkandla residence, pending an alleged investigation. She is currently residing, together with her three minor children, in a house in the Greytown area.”
When approached for comment on Mahlobo’s alleged instruction, state security spokesperson Brian Dube told News24: “I can’t confirm it.”
Presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga also responded by saying “the Zuma family is dealing with the matter”.
On Sunday, the Sunday Sun newspaper quoted sources in the Hermannsburg area near Greytown as saying that MaNtuli, who married Zuma in 2008, was “homeless” and living “undercover” in a rural area.
Local induna [headman] Jabulani Masikane told the newspaper that the president’s wife was looking for land, but that she would receive no special favour and had to follow procedures like everybody else.
But Roux denied that MaNtuli was looking for land to build a house in Greytown and dismissed claims that she was living undercover.
“My client’s three minor children are enrolled in a school in the Greytown area,” said Roux.
He said MaNtuli still visited the president’s family in Nkandla and that the two families enjoyed a healthy relationship.
The Sunday Times reported that in August 2014, during a trip to the US, doctors diagnosed Zuma as having been poisoned and, for a second opinion, he went to Russia for treatment.
Russian doctors reportedly confirmed the diagnosis.
MaNtuli was reportedly questioned by the police about allegations that she tried to kill the president. She was reportedly asked to leave the Nkandla homestead in January 2015.
It was also reported that MaNtuli was unhappy that she had been sidelined as a wife after reports that she had cheated on the president.
According to a 2012 report, MaNtuli had to pay a fine to the family, in the form of a goat, after she allegedly had an affair with one of her bodyguards, Phinda Thomo.
Tanzanian businessman Steven Masunga, who claimed to know MaNtuli, told the media in 2014 that he had been paid by MaNtuli to kill Thomo, who died mysteriously in 2009.
MaNtuli has not been seen in public, either with the president or on her own, but Roux said this was because she was looking after the children.
“She spends most of her time looking after her minor children and ensuring that their needs and requirements are cared for. She is, furthermore, involved in numerous charities and fundraising work,” said Roux.
He added that it was the president’s prerogative to choose which first lady he chose to accompany him.
“It is not her choice whether she accompanies him or not, so she cannot answer this question. She has parental duties and responsibilities pertaining to her three minor children and these duties are her main priority.”
Roux said MaNtuli still enjoyed a good relationship with her family in KwaMaphumulo.
MaNtuli would not comment on her relationship with the president.
Zuma’s brother, Michael, said he did not know where his sister-in-law was living.
“Sometimes I see her when she brings the children to visit. There is no bad blood between the two families,” said Zuma.