Jacob Zuma at Pietermaritzburg High Court on the 23 May 2019 for Day 3 on his trial. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA).

Pietermaritzburg - A group of Christian leaders who are among a small crowd of supporters of Jacob Zuma gathering outside Pietermaritzburg High Court said they were praying to God to be with the former president “no matter what happened to him”.

Some of the pastors had been camping outside the court since Monday when the court started hearings on Zuma and French arms company Thales’s applications for a permanent stay of prosecution of the arms-deal related fraud and corruption charges against them.

Speaking on behalf of the pastors, Bishop Sandile Ndlela of the United Methodist Church in Durban, said the prayer was important when Zuma in trouble with the law.

“As pastor we are here to pray because even if a person has been convicted he needs a pastor by his side.

“As pastors we visit the people even in prisons, and we are not going to stop when such cases are in court,” said Ndlela.

Ndlela said pastors were also praying for reconciliation between Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“We want them to reconcile so that there is going to be peace in South Africa   No matter what decision judges take, as pastors we are going to continue praying.

“Even if Zuma is prosecuted and convicted there is nothing that would stop us from visiting him in prison,” Ndlela said.

When asked how many pastors were outside the court, Ndlela said “there were many of us, more than 50,” he said.

However, by looking at people standing in front of a mobile stage, people who had come out to support Zuma were less than 100 by 3 pm.

Briefing the crowd about the proceedings inside the court, Zuma support organiser Bishop Vusi Dube said he would make means for Zuma to come out and address them.

“Or we will get a briefing from leadership about what was discussed (inside the court) and what will happen afterward.

“We also give you tomorrow’s programme. But the possibility is that Msholozi (Zuma) will come out to address you if he finds time,” said Dube.

Dube told the crowd that NPA had failed to give clear reasons why Zuma should be prosecuted.

“It looks like they are not sure of why they charged him, and we hope that they will remain without strong reasons for prosecuting Msholozi,” he said.

Dube said another public briefing would be done between 3.30 pm and 4 pm.

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