Former president Jacob Zuma. File picture: Dumisani Dube/ANA
Durban - Business forums that have been using violence and intimidation to access government tenders in KwaZulu-Natal are spearheading a national campaign that will bolster support for former president Jacob Zuma’s upcoming corruption trial.

As Zuma’s day in court draws near, his supporters appear to be pulling out all the stops to garner visible support for him. 

He is expected to appear in the Durban High Court next week to answer to 16 charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering relating to the controversial arms deal.

A black caucus, made up of business forums including the National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA, Delangokubona Business Forum, and the National Taxi Alliance is rallying behind him. 

Speaking on behalf of the business forums under the banner “100% behind Zuma”, Nkosentsha Shezi, secretary general of the funeral group said the aim was to create a platform for every citizen to be able to show support for Zuma.

“There are many people who feel let down by the manner in which president Zuma is being treated, having championed total emancipation for blacks through land expropriation without compensation, free tertiary education for working class children and radical economic transformation (RET),” Shezi said.

He said more business forums were heeding their call, adding they were receiving messages from Limpopo, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Shezi said the forum would be providing logistical support including transportation, food and sound systems.

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“President Zuma is a national figure, people are saying we are 100% behind JZ and we shall be there in our numbers to support him. We may see thousands of people descending on Durban.

“We are going to be visible in the streets of Durban and in court to say thank you to Msholozi and in spite of everything that has happened, we are behind you,” he said.

Dubbed the father of RET by the organisations, Zuma was recently honoured with two awards at a dinner in Durban hosted by the funeral group.

“Our support for Zuma is support for an ideology that he stood for, the same ideology that we stand for.”

Shezi added their support for Zuma was not meant to undermine the justice system.

“We want to set a precedent and create space for president Cyril Ramaphosa and many other presidents who follow to not fear to stand on the side of the black and poor.

“If we don’t stand up now and defend Zuma, who championed all these things for black people, it will mean future presidents will fear tackling white monopoly capital head-on like Zuma did.”

Mercury