Former South African president Jacob Zuma leaves the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on July 15, 2019 in Johannesburg. Picture WIKUS DE WET / POOL / AFP.
Former South African president Jacob Zuma leaves the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on July 15, 2019 in Johannesburg. Picture WIKUS DE WET / POOL / AFP.

Jacob Zuma's personal assistant received death threats against the former president and his children on Monday, and “very serious threats” had also been made against his senior advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, the state capture inquiry heard. 

Sikhakane on Tuesday declined to provide inquiry chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo any further detail of these alleged threats. Zondo condemned the threats made against both Sikhakhane and Zuma. 

“It is totally unacceptable for anyone in our society to want to use violence, intimidation and all kinds of illegal means when they are unhappy about anybody, because our legal system is such that people can go to courts, [or] can go to the police if they have complaints against other people,” Zondo said.

He added that he was “happy” that the threats had not caused Zuma to change his mind about giving evidence.

Moments into day two of Zuma’s testimony, the former president stated that he needed “to put it on record” that his personal assistant yesterday received a phone call “from someone she didn’t know”. He said this unknown man had threatened to kill him, his children and those close to him.

Zuma said he knew “what it is like to lose a child”, and suggested that the recent death of one of his sons may have been the result of foul play. He told the inquiry that he would go into detail over this later in his testimony.

Former president Jacob Zuma made a startling opening to the second day of the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on July 16 2019. Zuma told the commission that his life as well as his children's lives had been threatened by an unknown caller who phoned his PA on July 15 2019 after his first day of testimony.

On Monday, Zuma said he had been the victim of numerous plots to murder him, allegedly hatched by foreign intelligence agencies. He also said there were spies working against him from within the ranks of the ANC. 

This is not the first time that inquiry witnesses have claimed that their lives were under threat as a consequence of their testimony.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi claims his life was threatened, and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor alleged that her hotel room had been tampered with.