Former South African President Jacob Zuma appeared at the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Picture: Michele Spatari/Pool via AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Pietermaritzburg - Organisers of former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters have complained about sabotage as a smaller than usual crowd turned up when he appeared at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday. 

They said they had organised more than 60 buses from Durban and Pietermaritzburg, but none arrived. 

After Zuma and French arms manufacturing company Thales’s appearance was postponed, Zuma addressed around 1500 people; far less than at previous court appearances. 

ANC KwaZulu-Natal MPL Bishop Vusi Dube said 34 buses from Durban and another 30 from Pietermaritzurg were stopped from transporting Zuma’s supporters.

“We had organised buses in Pietermaritzburg and Durban. I have a message here that says ‘buses in Durban were rejected,” said Dube while reading an SMS on his phone.

Dube said he did not know how the buses were stopped in Pietermaritzburg.

“We had mobilised on the ground, but when people do not have transport they cannot come here. 

“Many people in Durban are still waiting for buses,” said Dube.

He said other senior Zuma supporters would establish why buses were stopped, and who had stopped them.

“Once we establish this we are going to take this matter up with the provincial secretary as things did not happen the way we had expected. If the ANC had organised buses there should be buses,” said Dube.

He said ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli had co-ordinated the programme to transport people. Former KwaZulu-Natal parliamentary speaker Meshach Radebe said the smaller crowd, which had gathered at the Freed Park Squire in front of the High Court to be addressed by Zuma did not mean that Zuma’s support was running dry.

“Somebody cancelled buses. We went to sleep knowing that we have buses to transport people only to wake up in the morning with SMSs that buses had been cancelled.

“We are going to leave this matter to our leaders to investigate the matter,” he said.

Zuma’s nephew Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma had earlier this week said that despite growing support for his uncle, this might not be reflected outside court as business people who were sponsoring buses were now being prevented from doing so.

Political Bureau