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Zondo inquiry questions motives of unit tasked with probing Zuma poisoning claim

A witness, only referred to as Ms K, on Wednesday said the experts appointed to carry out the investigation were paid R1.8 million every month – initially in cash.

Former President Jacob Zuma checks his phone while at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on 17 November 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The state capture commission has been told that either the toxicology unit that was tasked with investigating claims of poisoning by former president Jacob Zuma didn’t know what it was doing or was a front to siphon money for undisclosed purposes.

A witness, only referred to as Ms K, on Wednesday said that the experts appointed to carry out the work were paid R1.8 million every month – initially in cash.

They later opted to use a company that’d been given the pseudonym, Remix.

Ms K confirmed that under former deputy director Thulani Dlomo, a unit called presidential support services was established - parallel to existing VIP protection services.

She said: “Because they were receiving R1.8million a month cash – from SO operatives - they felt it was too much to handle it in cash, so the owner offered Ambassador Thulani Dlomo that they can use her company to disburse these funds.”

Ms K was referring to a company that was appointed by Dlomo to investigate claims of poisoning for former President Zuma.

But it appeared it was all in vain.

Advocate Paul Pretorius asked Ms K: “… Affidavit continues... failure to detect poisoning of a sitting president was either a major intelligence failure by a specialised unit that had been trained and resourced for that sole purpose - or exposes the toxicology unit as a structure used to siphon funds out of the SSA and use such funds for other non-disclosed purposes. Do you have any comment?

She then answered, “No - except that I agree with the statement.”

Zuma believed his estranged wife MaNtuli had poisoned him. She was then illegally detained by intelligence agents.

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