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Sending Jacob Zuma back to jail can spur more unrest, but it’s up in the air

Former president Jacob Zuma. File Picture

Former president Jacob Zuma. File Picture

Published Dec 22, 2021


DURBAN - ANALYSTS have stressed that sending the former head of state back to prison could trigger more unrest and plunge the country into chaos, however, they asserted that it was unpredictable how his supporters would react.

Political analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe, said it was important to note that the unrest derived from outrage borne out of a sense of injustice that had caused the unrest in July.

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Seepe said people should disabuse themselves of the notion that judges hold a monopoly on what justice entails because people had a sense of what was right and wrong.

“The case is not about Zuma. It is more about insulting black people and reminding them that whites still run the country and the courts. They run black judges by making sure they focus on irrelevant issues. They have perfected the art of using black people against themselves.

“I’m not sure that people will immediately resort to the kind of social unrest we have witnessed. The day that happens, the July unrest will be like a picnic. There will come a time in this country when all the sell-outs and their puppet masters will be dealt with,” Seepe said.

Echoing Seepe, Professor Tumi Senokoane agreed that the Zuma supporters situation was unpredictable and tricky.

“But it must be noted that Zuma has been quiet and this makes his supporters unsure of what the next move might be.”

Senokoane felt that it was time for Zuma to provide leadership to those who support him.

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Dr Metji Makgoba, a political analyst at the University of Limpopo, felt that the only option for Zuma’s supporters was to protest on social media against the arrest of the former head of state because the state had now identified key figures who had mobilised people for the July unrest.

“In terms of having power that can disrupt life in South Africa, they have limited options as the state appears to have regrouped and has targeted people assumed to have been involved in terms of who was organising the protests. Most of the supporters understand the consequences of what might happen if they do anything against the law.

“If there is a decision that Zuma should return to prison, I don’t think there will be resistance because the state is using the police force to neutralise the protest.”

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Makgoba said that the July unrest was unprecedented and he does not think it would happen again at the level it had reached in July.

On Tuesday, the Pretoria High Court granted Zuma leave to appeal against an earlier ruling that ordered him to return to prison. Judge Elias Matojane said Zuma’s legal team had raised a vital question regarding the correct interpretation of the Correctional Services Act and its regulations. It necessitated the Supreme Court of Appeal’s attention.

The Concourt had sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail for contempt of court after he breached its earlier order to abide by the state capture commission’s summons and appear before it.

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The Jacob Zuma Foundation said it was satisfied with the ruling and hoped the SCA would rule in Zuma’s favour.

Meanwhile, his supporters throughout the country have begun with plans to descend to Kwadakwaudunuse in Nkandla on Thursday and on Monday to show their unwavering support.

Staunch Zuma backer Nkosenhle Shezi said supporters had always been ready to support to Zuma in defence of his constitutional rights.

“We are willing to mobilise people to engage in peaceful picketing and … guard against judicial manipulation of our courts.”

Daily News

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