President Jacob Zuma with his brother Michael. Picture: Sandile Ndlovu
President Jacob Zuma with his brother Michael. Picture: Sandile Ndlovu

Growing calls for state to be compassionate and allow Zuma to attend late brother’s funeral

By Itumeleng Mafisa Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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There are growing calls from different quarters for the state to be compassionate and allow former president Jacob Zuma to attend his brother Michael Zuma’s funeral which will be held in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.

The South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR) said Zuma had the right to attend his brother’s funeral.

The organisation’s president, Golden Miles Bhudu, said the former president should be treated like any other South African and be granted the right to bury his loved ones. Bhudu criticised statements claiming that Zuma making a public appearance could lead to further protests in the country.

“He is doing a lousy sentence. He must apply to go to the funeral; they should not deny him to go and bury his brother. I don’t think there will be a problem with him going there. If there are problems, he is the former president and he can call out those who want to make trouble,” Bhudu said.

He added that the organisation would be following up on Zuma’s incarceration to ensure that his rights as a prisoner are protected.

“We as an organisation have an interest in his incarceration, the conditions, the medical treatment and study material. The former president is not an ordinary man,” Bhudu said.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) said it would be appropriate for the former president to attend his brother’s funeral. The secretary-general of the SACC, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, said there were also discussions to provide the Zuma family with pastoral support and counselling.

Mpumlwana said he had been assured that a pastor from the Congregational Church was providing support to the family.

“The family is going through so much difficulty that we are working with pastors on the ground. It would be nice if he could go to his brother’s funeral. It would be a good gesture. I can’t imagine that there would be people that would attack and remove the prison warders,” Mpumlwana said.

He hoped the prison system would be able to grant Zuma compassionate leave and still ensure that no laws are broken.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Zuma had not applied for compassionate leave to attend his brother’s funeral. But he said Zuma was not a flight risk.

“That application has yet to be presented to us by the former president. There are a number of variables that the centre will look into. After that they will then make a decision. You have to be in civilian clothes and you have to be monitored. The former president is classified as low risk,” Nxumalo said.

The spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, said the foundation was still consulting with the family to find out if Zuma would be applying to attend his brother’s funeral.

The Star

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