Defend Truth


Fact Check – was former president Jacob Zuma targeted in a recent car accident?

Fact Check – was former president Jacob Zuma targeted in a recent car accident?
Illustrative image | Former South African president Jacob Zuma. (Photos: Ihsaan Haffejee / AFP | Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

On 28 March 2024, the car in which former president Jacob Zuma was travelling in KwaZulu-Natal was involved in an accident. Or was it? Misinformation on all sides has been swirling around this incident.


On the one side of the social media narrative, some prominent X users claimed the accident was staged, posting photos purporting to show minimal damage to a car. These photos are unverified, although a Google image reverse search does not show them linked to any other accident.

On the other side of the narrative, it did not take long for MK, the political party launched by Zuma in December 2023, to claim that the accident was an attempted hit on him.

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela was quoted in the media as saying: “This looks like an attempt to assassinate President Zuma.”

MK head of elections Musa Mkhize told the SABC that the party suspected “foul play”, since they had previously received warnings that Zuma would be in hospital before election day.

Where does the truth lie?

The police have confirmed that a car containing Zuma did get into an accident on 28 March near Eshowe.

They said “a motor vehicle collided with the former president’s official armoured state vehicle”, and that “a 51-year-old alleged drunk driver has since been arrested for the incident and his blood samples have been taken for further testing as police investigations continue”.

The suspect, who has not been named, is reportedly a first-time offender who has already appeared in the Eshowe Magistrates’ Court and been released on R500 bail.

Police have not given any indication that there is anything behind the incident other than alleged drunk driving. Given that South Africa has one of the worst road safety records in the world, this should not be too hard to swallow. 

This is not the first time claims have been made about Zuma and assassination attempts. The former president has himself alleged on at least three separate occasions that he has been the victim of attempted poisoning. One of the alleged poisoners was his estranged wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, who was banned from Zuma’s Nkandla home in 2015 for allegedly conspiring to poison him – but the National Prosecuting Authority said later that, based on its investigation, there was no evidence that Zuma had been poisoned at all. 

In summary: It seems certain that Zuma’s car did indeed get into an accident, and there is no evidence that this was staged. But there is also no evidence currently that the incident was part of any kind of targeted political act of violence. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Michael Thomlinson says:

    So, according to MK a drunk assassin was sent to target Zuma? Well, that’s entirely believable in SA!

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    I cringe when I think what a basket case banana republic we look like to foreign observers.

  • Renée Van der Merwe says:

    “the former president’s official armoured state vehicle”

    How much more is he entitled to?

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    MK looking for the sympathy vote now!

  • Micheal Steyn says:

    Zuma is desperately trying to bring outdated Russian propaganda techniques into South African politics, this after making outrageous claims in a pathetic attempt to copy Malema’s populast dependency on getting publicity through controversy. The fact is, this more than anything else again shows how irrelevant he has become to improving the South African society. As we all know, he should be serving time right now for his corrupt dealings, mismanagement and basically treasonous tenure as our worst president ever.

    • John Brodrick says:

      South Africa’s political assassins tend to use guns, and they seldom miss. The drunk driver explanation is far more plausible than the conspiracy theory.

      • Middle aged Mike says:

        You flatter them shamelessly John Brodrick. Except where they are at halitosis range they miss rather a lot as the shell casings littering their places of work show. Like everything else the glorious liberation movement has brought us their assassins are third rate. I do give them credit for their noteworthy work ethic though, averaging 50 ANC councilors a year in KZN alone as they do.

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    “Got into an accident”. Was involved in an accident surely?

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    “Got into an accident” Surely it should read “was involved in an accident”?

  • Luan Sml says:

    So the taxpayer is providing an official armoured state vehicle for the former prez to swan around in while campaigning for a new political party? Just asking for a friend…

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options