South African President Jacob Zuma has revealed there was a plot to have him assassinated when he was Deputy President, a report has said.
But, according to The Witness newspaper, Zuma said the plot was thwarted due to the loyalty of his bodyguards who refused to be coerced into the deed.
The Witness reported that Zuma had spoken of the assassination plot on Saturday at the funeral of Patrick Maphumulo, whom he said was one of those bodyguards who refused to be drawn into the plan.
Maphumulo (39) died in Durban last Sunday.
Reports suggest Maphumulo had contracted malaria on a trip to Khartoum for the inauguration of the President of the newly-formed State of Southern Sudan.
Maphumulo had been protecting Zuma since his tenure as Deputy President.
Speaking in IsiZulu, Zuma reportedly said when he was Deputy President, he faced difficult times when everything and every person who was expected to be trustworthy, turned against him.
“Mashimane (Maphumulo’s clan name) was part of the VIP guards assigned to the Deputy President. At the time the plotters wanted some information on who I was talking and associating with. He and some in the bodyguards team showed deep knowledgeof politics.
They refused to give information when their superiors wanted to know about my movements,” Zuma said.
“For refusing to be coerced, they were ostracised by their seniors and were refused some privileges enjoyed by their colleagues, but they did not budge,” he added. Zuma reportedly said those behind the plot had tried to find out how many firearms his guards had, with a view to taking them out and killing him.
According to The Witness, Zuma’s spokesperson Zanele Mngadi said she had not located the President to clarify who had wanted to have him assassinated and what the reason behind it was. — IOL