KHULA ZUMA, family spokesman, outlines the reasons why they feel a plot exists to kill the ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma

Following the burglary at our father Jacob Zuma's rented flat in Durban recently, the family wishes to express its disgust and concern.

Following the burglary at our father Jacob Zuma's rented flat in Durban recently, the family wishes to express its disgust and concern.

Most importantly, it wishes to place on record its realisation that the threats against Zuma seem to be no longer mere threats, but sinister intentions with dire consequences.

The family notes that the public persecution of our father is a concentrated and deliberate effort to remove him, not only from political life, but also more importantly, from the present and future enjoyment of life in a free and democratic South Africa.

It has been almost 10 years since it first came to light that Zuma was being investigated, ironically by the democratic system that he helped put in place.

Despite his insistence that such an investigation was unwarranted, the state persisted.

During the process of the so-called investigation, there are a number of issues that raised the family's concerns.

l There was the "off-the-record" briefing with editors at which former National Prosecuting Authority head Bulelani Ngcuka solicited the support of the media against Zuma.

It still baffles us what part of the law allows that, and what impact such a briefing was supposed to have on the anticipated legal proceedings.

l The unprecedented grand press conference, attended by at least one cabinet minister, at which the same Ngcuka expansively announced that there was a prima facie case against Zuma, but that the case was unwinnable in court, and they would therefore not proceed.

Zuma was charged with corruption.

After he had been charged, the prosecution went out to investigate and collect evidence, a process which included the pre-dawn raids conducted at various premises.

It was again unprecedented that a person was charged by a prosecuting authority that had already concluded that the case was not winnable in court.

l The action taken by President Thabo Mbeki to relieve Zuma of his duties as the deputy president of the country was based on the outcome of Schabir Shaik's trial.

When the president relieved Zuma of his duties, he said he was compelled by the constitution of the country to take such a decision. We have since looked at the constitution and we have not found anything that supports the president's assertion.

The president proceeded to quote our constitution, correctly saying that a person is innocent until proven guilty. But his action of relieving Zuma of his duties before he was found guilty by any court was a contradiction of this important principle.

In a subsequent address to the joint sitting of parliament, the president continued to say Zuma must have his day in court before Zuma was charged.

Our interpretation of the president's statement was that he was instructing the relevant organs of state to charge Zuma.

l Our understanding is that the president based his decision to relieve Zuma of his duties largely on the finding by Judge Hillary Squires that there was a "generally corrupt relationship" between Zuma and Shaik.

From the outset, the Zuma family did not agree with that statement nor did it understand its logic.

Judge Squires subsequently clarified the point and categorically stated that he never made such a finding.

There has been no acknowledgement by the president of the false basis for his decision.

l When Zuma was charged with rape, we always believed he would be found not guilty. Not only was this the case, but the trial revealed a sinister force.

Since then, there have been many developments including innuendo, fabrications, entrapment, horrendous insults and blatant defamation of his character aimed at destroying his standing in society.

Some of the examples of these psychological games include the so-called hoax e-mail saga.

Then Zuma was implicated in what has become known as the "special browse mole" report, linking him to bogus funding sources and containing more serious allegations against him.

Given the timing, the family cannot help but conclude that the recent burglary of Zuma's flat was not a random act of criminality, but a last-ditch effort and deliberate attempt on his life.

It saddens us that even in a free and democratic South Africa, as in the past, our family continues to suffer.

lKhula Zuma is the nephew of Jacob Zuma.