ICON SALUTED: Former president Jacob Zuma, who is set to appear in the Durban High Court tomorrow, came to offer his condolences at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s house in Orlando West, Soweto, yesterday.
Church leaders, including prominent KwaZulu-Natal ANC MPL Bishop Vusi Dube, have pledged their support for former president Jacob Zuma when he appears in the Durban High Court tomorrow to face arms deal-related corruption charges.

Dube, who was the co-leader of the pro-Zuma National Interfaith of SA and Commission for Religious Affairs (Nicsa), held a media briefing yesterday to outline the “Hands off Zuma” night vigil tonight and protest march to the high court tomorrow.

“On Friday, we want everyone to come out to support Msholozi,” said Dube.

He added that he supported Zuma in his own capacity as a religious leader, and under the ANC banner.

The church leaders are working with groups such as National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (NafupaSA), Black First Land First (BLF), Amadelangokubona Business Forum, Asidle Sonki Business Forum and National Unemployed People’s Trust to mobilise support for Zuma.

The former president is expected to appear before Judge Themba Sishi in the high court on 16 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

The leading Zuma defenders said they had organised more than 100 buses to bring Zuma supporters to the city.

“These groups were mobilising differently to support Msholozi but we saw it fit to unite them because we are working towards a common purpose. We cannot allow our community to be without leadership,” said Dube.

Dube questioned the ANC’s ban on Zuma supporters using party regalia. “It leaves some questions because people bought the T-shirts with an (ANC) logo.”

Bishop Timothy Ngcobo said church leaders were part of the initiative because Zuma had worked well with religious leaders as president.

“This is the man who asked for all religious leaders to pray for the people of this country to accept each other as equal whether poor or rich, irrespective of the community they come from. He asked religious leaders to pray for love, peace and compassion,” said Ngcobo.

Dube said the night vigil and the march had been authorised by the eThekwini municipality.

Meanwhile, Zuma visited the home of Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Orlando West, Soweto, yesterday to offer his condolences.

Addressing reporters, Zuma hailed her for having shortened the distance to the country’s democratic breakthrough.

“To us it’s a big loss, there is a pain of losing a mother, a comrade, a leader who has seen it all. She has been detained, tortured, exiled within the country, harassed perpetually, but she stood,” he said.

“We have come to the family to grieve with the family, to say words of condolence and comfort, to identify with the family as we always did when she was still alive.”

He said the ANC would continue being with the family “until we say our final farewell”.

He commended President Cyril Ramaphosa for granting her a special state funeral. “This is a national hero, that’s how we should say goodbye to her. We are saying goodbye to her in a manner that shows respect and dignity to the mother of our nation,” he said.