Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Des van Rooyen were at the Durban High Court on Friday to support former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / African News Agency / ANA

Durban - Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma have condemned the decision by the Pietermaritzburg High Court to issue a warrant of arrest after he failed to appear in court, citing illness. 

Des van Rooyen, who served in Zuma's cabinet during his term in the presidency, said there was an attempt to paint the former president as an 'evil person' who disrespected the law. 

Zuma is apparently out the country receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment. He failed to appear in court on Tuesday. 

Van Rooyen said there was no way that Zuma would fake an illness.     

“There is no way that his excellency the former president Mr Zuma can avoid the law. That is just fabrication, and this is one of those statements that are issued to paint him as this evil person who is even undermining the very same democratic system that he fought for and ultimately created, which is very unfortunate,” said Van Rooyen. 

He said Zuma had gone to a lot of trouble for the country to achieve a democratic justice system that is equal to everyone.  

“Why must he all of a sudden be viewed as someone who is now not disrespecting the same laws. 

“It is part of the broader propaganda to distort our leaders with a sole intention of obviously making people look at them as bad people who should not be supported at all costs,” he said.

Former president Jacob Zuma will face his day in court related to corruption charges. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA

Judge Dhaya Pillay on Tuesday morning rejected a sick note submitted by Zuma's legal representatives. The sick note had been obtained from a military hospital in Pretoria, where Zuma had been treated on two occasions in December last year.

Weighing in on the court’s warrant, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, warned the court not to take a decision that would backfire on the justice system.

“In dispensing the law and making sure that we adhere to all the prescripts of law, it is important to dispense law and at the same time reflect on the possible implication of whatever decision we make,” he said. 

He said Zuma, as a former president, deserves respect. 

“I don’t think that former president Jacob Zuma can act and behave irresponsible as a person,” he said.

Mahumapelo said Zuma had been appearing in court instead of running away.

“I don’t think that he can concoct a sickness when he is actually not sick.

“He was not running away from the onslaught of the apartheid system. How can he run away from the democratic processes. I don’t think that is possible,” said Mahumapelo.   

Political Bureau