Former president Jacob Zuma
Durban - Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma are gearing up for his return to the Pietermaritzburg High Court for his fraud and corruption trial on February 4.

The group are planning a month-long mobilisation ahead of a “Hands off JG Zuma” gathering at the Freedom Park Square, opposite the high court, on the day of his court appearance.

Already there is a poster calling for donations for legal costs to be deposited into Zuma’s Capitec bank account.

It came against the backdrop of recent images of Zuma at one of the bank’s branches, with former South African Airways board chairperson Dudu Myeni.

This has fuelled speculation that he went to the bank to open an account for his legal costs.

Zuma had following his court appearance earlier last year told his supporters that he did not have any money for his legal costs, claiming he had to resort to selling his hats and socks to foot his legal bill.

On Friday, Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Champions chairperson Nkosentsha Shezi confirmed the account on social media was indeed legitimate.

Shezi said their support for Zuma was based on principle and that the former president represented the interests of black people by championing the ANC’s policy of radical economic transformation.

“We shall be there, in court, in numbers to support Msholozi even though we have a crisis in terms of finances and the mobilisation.

“There are also people who are in government who infiltrate our planning and demobilise because they want to promote a particular narrative that says Msholozi has lost support, but Msholozi will never lose support because Msholozi is us and we are Msholozi,” he said.

Bishop Vusi Dube, an ANC MPL in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature and one of the key organisers of the “Hands Off JG Zuma” campaign, said that on the day Zuma’s supporters would descend on Pietermaritzburg.

“We had made a commitment that we will always support Zuma whenever he appears before court and through this campaign, we want to remind people to come out in their numbers to back Zuma again on February 4.

“We are expecting people from all over the country, as much as they always come when he is in court. There are people from Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KZN who will be coming to give support to Zuma,” Dube said.

Political analyst Mighti Jamie said it was difficult for those in the public to clearly tell whether or not Zuma was really in financial trouble.

However, Jamie said, the benefit for Zuma from this donation drive, if the worst was assumed, was that he would be playing into the narrative that he was broke and did not benefit from the state capture project as it was alleged.

“It will raise the question that if he can’t afford to pay his own legal fees then how did he steal money and where are all those hundreds of millions they say he stole?

“If we are assuming it is a genuine act, it has implications he is clearly unable to fund the legal challenges because legal costs can go into millions of rand and they can ruin most people’s finances and leave them in a position whereby their finances are legitimately ruined,” Jamie said.

Politics Bureau