The president is said to have first spoken about the poison plots last year during a meeting of the ANC’s NEC.
President Jacob Zuma has done an about-turn on his previous claims of attempts to poison him, allegedly related to his drive for “radical economic transformation” and South Africa’s decision to join the Brics nations seven years ago.
In a written parliamentary reply on Monday to Cope MP William Madisha, Zuma said he was “not aware” of any threats on his life from poisoning.
Madisha wanted to know whether Zuma had found his life to be under threat due to poisoning attempts related to radical transformation and South Africa’s association with Brics.
“I am not aware of a conspiracy to poison me because of the decision of South Africa to join Brics or because of the radical economic transformation policy of government,” Zuma said in his response.
According to media reports, Zuma learned he was poisoned while he was on a trip to the US in 2014, and a docket investigating allegations of attempted murder was opened by Nkandla police in April 2015, in which his estranged second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, is said to be a suspect in the case.
It has also been reported that on January 4, 2015, Ntuli-Zuma was apparently asked by Minister of State Security David Mahlobo to leave the Nkandla homestead after being told she was implicated in a sensitive matter that was being investigated.
Zuma is said to have first spoken about the poison plot in 2016 during a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee, where he apparently said there had been three attempts on his life.
He repeated the poisoning claims during an ANC cadres’ forum in the Free State in August, where he told delegates he almost died because of his commitment to “radical economic transformation”.
“I nearly died because they did poison me. They managed to find someone close to me, and I know it,” he said at the time.
“I was dead. They don’t believe how I survived. Not one dose, because the person who was poisoning me was so innocent, so close. Three doses. Even scientists can’t believe why I did not die [sic].”