President Jacob Zuma announces the Free State provincial conference close on Sunday. Picture: Timothy Bernard24.06.2012
President Jacob Zuma announces the Free State provincial conference close on Sunday. Picture: Timothy Bernard24.06.2012

Free Zuma campaign calls for his release

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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SAMKELO MTSHALI

THE #FreeJacobZuma campaign has come out in support of the imprisoned former head of state, saying that only a free Zuma can quell the unrest that plagued Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over the past week.

In a virtual briefing, Zuma supporters, including ANC member Phapano Phasha and MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus, took turns to defend the former president saying that his incarceration was unlawful.

Phasha said that steps to release Zuma with immediate effect from his “unjust political incarceration” must be taken.

“Only a free President Zuma can address our nation and call for calm. President Zuma is against any criminal action against any business, but as long as he is unfairly imprisoned his hands are tied, yet the media and others continue to call the criminal action by looters ‘Zuma supporters’ because in their book president Zuma is all that is criminal,” Phasha said.

She said that the events leading up to Zuma’s imprisonment were littered with evidence that amounted to judicial abuse of the constitutional and criminal justice system of the country.

“It is not on account of any evidence of any wrongdoing by (former) president Jacob Zuma but, the denial of his rights to justice that has divided our country.

“A lie has consequently been peddled and gained currency in the media portraying President Zuma as a lawless person when, in fact, those trusted with our judicial system seem hellbent with getting him into prison by whatever means necessary,” Phasha said.

She said that their and sincerely meant warnings that Zuma’s imprisonment would have serious consequences leading to instability and uprising were rejected and that they were “abused and called all kinds of names”.

Phasha said that Zuma’s targeting was political and factional, and that a genuine solution should be political and be part of the fundamental and radical transformation of the country.

“We are not oblivious to the fact that the legal prosecution of Zuma is inspired by his position on white monopoly capital, disguised through portraying Zuma as a corrupt person.

“It is against this backdrop that our demands for the release of Zuma are linked to the various demands pertaining to the economy. We further note that there are opportunistic attempts to try and hold those of us who have issued these genuine warnings responsible for the violence.”

Phasha further stated that holding the leaders of the #FreeJacobZuma campaign who had warned against his imprisonment responsible for the violence, looting and destruction of property was dishonesty of the worst kind.

“To try and now turn those of us who have warned about the dire consequences of reckless actions into scapegoats is disingenuous and the pinnacle of political opportunism and cynicism.

“We do not support violence, our principled opposition against the long time prosecution and political imprisonment of Zuma has always been peaceful and within the confines of the law. We have never called for lawlessness and violence.”

Phasha said that there were many criminal opportunists who had ridden on the back of a genuine protest against the injustices meted out at Zuma for their own ill gains.

She said they opposed looting, burning and destruction of property more so because this had occurred where there were black businesses and black townships, setting back the township economy.

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