Fam­ily de­nies Zuma part of hit plot

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Bongani Hans

FOR­MER pres­i­dent Jacob Zuma’s fam­ily has come to his de­fence against claims link­ing him to a plan to mur­der for­mer head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Na­tal, Ma­jor-Gen­eral Jo­han Booy­sen.

Re­spond­ing to an al­le­ga­tion in Par­lia­ment by op­po­si­tion MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, Zuma’s nephew Inkosi Sim­phiwe Zuma laughed off at the claim, say­ing his un­cle would never harm even a fly.

“It is clear that whites want to take over the coun­try. They want to con­fuse us. I trust that per­son (Zuma) 100% he would not kill any­one. He does not sup­port mur­der,” Inkosi Zuma said.

The for­mer pres­i­dent’s spokesper­son Vuk­ile Mathaba had not re­sponded to ques­tions e-mailed to him re­gard­ing Kohler Barnard’s star­tling claims by the time of pub­lish­ing.

The DA MP on Tues­day told Par­lia­ment that Zuma and the ANC’s KwaZulu-Na­tal provin­cial task team mem­bers Sihle Zikalala, Su­per Zuma, and for­mer SA Air­ways chair­per­son Dudu Myeni, had met with mem­bers of Umkhonto we Sizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion (MKMVA) in the prov­ince to hatch a plot to kill Booy­sen.

But Inkosi Zuma said Booy­sen was close to the Zuma fam­ily.

“Booy­sen had vis­ited my homestead in Im­pen­dle when I had tra­di­tional cer­e­monies, and we al­ways had fun to­gether.

“How­ever, I don’t know how close he (Booy­sen) has been to Baba (Zuma), but he vis­ited my fam­ily sev­eral times,” Inkosi Zuma said.

Booy­sen said he had been told a while ago that his life was in dan­ger, and that the in­for­ma­tion he had was that se­nior ANC politi­cians had met the MK vet­er­ans.

Yes­ter­day Booy­sen said he had been ap­proached by police and that they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

“I am tak­ing the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions. At this junc­ture the de­tails are be­ing taken care of. As for the de­nials, I wouldn’t ex­pect them to admit to it,” he said.

Said Myeni: “I must be given time to con­sult with my lawyers and clear my name as these are lies.

“I had no such meet­ing. I don’t even know Cor­nu­bia. I stay in Richards Bay,” she said.

Zikalala and Su­per Zuma had also de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and threat­ened to take le­gal ac­tion.

Con­sti­tu­tional ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Pierre De Vos said Kohler Barnard could not face le­gal ac­tion for the state­ment in Par­lia­ment be­cause she was pro­tected by par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege un­der Sec­tion 58 of the con­sti­tu­tion.

“It says cabi­net mem­bers, deputy min­is­ters and MPs have free­dom of speech, and are not li­able to civil or crim­i­nal pro­ce­dures, ar­rest, im­pris­on­ment or dam­ages for any­thing they have said in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

“So they can­not be sued for defama­tion for any­thing they said ex­cept to ask for the state­ment to be with­drawn,” he said.

De Vos said peo­ple im­pli­cated by Kohler Barnard had no le­gal re­course, but they could only re­fute what had been said about them.

He said par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege was taken from the Bri­tish tra­di­tion to pro­tect MPs from be­ing pu­n­ished for talk­ing about the king, who was pow­er­ful.

JO­HAN BOOY­SEN

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