South Africa’s embattled ex-president Jacob Zuma said Wednesday that “people who were trying to kill me” instead poisoned and killed his son in 2018.
Zuma claims he was the victim of several plots and assassination attempts during his nine-year rule, which was marred by graft allegations and dwindling popularity.
At a corruption inquiry in July 2019, one year after he was forced to resign, Zuma accused unnamed foreign intelligence services of plotting to kill him.
His son Nhlakanipho Vusi Zuma was suffering from lupus when he died at the age of 25 on July 1, 2018.
In a 45-minute video conversation with another son, Duduzane Zuma, the ex-president alleged that Nhlakanipho was poisoned by his enemies, an AFP report said.
“Here was a young man (who) had an ailment that you can control until you are very old. But he passed away very suddenly,” Zuma said in the video, which was released on Wednesday.
“I now know that it was people who were trying to kill me or to reach me, but who were finding it difficult,” he added.
“It was a failure to take my life, that they then went to the young man and… interfered with his treatment in order to poison (him).”
The former president did not provide any evidence to support the claim.
He is accused of allowing his cronies to plunder state coffers and influence government appointments during his time in office.
He is also facing trial for allegedly enriching himself over a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999, when he was deputy president.
The 78-year-old former president has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
His next court appearance — initially scheduled for May 6 — has been postponed to June 23 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
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