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Zuma supporters picket over last year’s arrest

Former president Jacob Zuma supporters to remember his arrest last year. Image: Matthews Baloyi

Former president Jacob Zuma supporters to remember his arrest last year. Image: Matthews Baloyi

Published Jul 7, 2022

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SIYABONGA SITHOLE

Durban-based ANC member and proponent of Radical Economic Transformation, Nkosentsha Shezi, says he and a group of like-minded individuals and civil rights organisations will today, Thursday, hold a picket outside Durban Magistrate’s Court in support of Jacob Zuma and the one year anniversary of the former president’s “unconstitutional” incarceration.

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“We will be picketing in commemoration of former president Jacob Zuma’s illegal and unconstitutional incarceration which happened exactly a year ago. The picket is in support of his contribution to the struggle for freedom which he was denied when the current regime put him in jail without a case number.

“A year later we see our justice system has become worse yet the Phala Phala matter is being ignored. South African Revenue Service has yet to act against Ramaphosa as there is a clear tax avoidance and a clear violation of the FICA Act matter yet, Sars, the justice system and other organs of state fail to act against the current president,” Shezi said.

Shezi says the picket is so in response to the rising fuel prices, rising food prices, unemployment rate and other issues affecting ordinary South Africans.

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On July 7 last year, Zuma handed himself over to the Estcourt correctional facility following a week-long stand-off between himself and the judges of the Constitutional Court who had ruled that Zuma should face a 15-month jail term.

Following a split ruling between the majority and minority judgment, the apex court led by Justice Sisi Khampepe ruled that the former president should serve a 15-month jail term as his “defiance” to return to the state capture commission had the potential to cause a “constitutional crisis”.

Zuma subsequently handed himself over to the authorities following this judgment. However, a few days later scores of ordinary South Africans reacted to Zuma’s jailing with a revolt that has since become one of the country’s darkest moments after democracy.

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These mass scale riots saw protesters torching and looting malls, trucks, factories and other establishments in what many say was an insurrection in reaction Zuma’s incarceration and targeting at the hands of the country’s failing justice system.

Speaking on the eve of the jailing of the former commander of the uMkhonto we Sizwe, leader of Black First Land First (BLF) Andile Mngxitama said the jailing of Zuma and the resulting riots should not have happened and could have been avoided.

The people have lost their innocence. The next upheaval shall be bigger and better organised and led. The socio-economic conditions of the people are not improving and soon another trigger factor shall strike, he said.

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On Tuesday, the support for the former head of state trended under the #SorryJacobZuma as many South Africans took time to apologise for their preconceived ideas about him. Mngxitama whose support for Zuma has been long-standing says people are waking up to the unrelenting media campaign against the former ANC president.

“It’s not so much change on Zuma, it’s more a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa. The people finally can see how misled they were by Thumanina campaign. People are waking up,” he said.

Another staunch supporter of the former president, Carl Niehaus, told this newspaper that the July unrest in 2021 was an organic response by ordinary South Africans expressing themselves against a repressive regime as well as the effects of Covid-19 restrictions on livelihoods.

“There is no one person who instigated the July unrests. This was an organic social, political and economic response and expression of people’s frustrations against the uncaring regime by Ramaphosa.

“Even to this day, they have failed to give us the names of the so called instigators and despite harassment and victimisation of some of us, they have not been able to point to any one person as an instigator of the unrest,” Niehaus said.

Furthermore, the member of the now disbanded MKMVA says the unrest of Zuma was “unconstitutional, illegal and short-sighted“.

Both Niehaus and Mngxitama say the attack on Zuma has always been something that drew them to show their long-standing support for Zuma who they say is being attacked for his radical stance on the country’s economy.

“Our attitude changed when we saw how identical the anti-Zuma campaign was to the anti-Lula campaign in Brazil. The ruling class of Brazil, the equivalent of the Stellenbosch mafia in South African organised civil society, students and opposition parties with the help of the judiciary to jail Lula.

“That’s what happened here. Right at the time Zuma was going against the Stellenbosch agenda the Zuma Must Go campaign intensified. We saw it back then and warned about it. We defended Zuma to save ourselves from the current rot of the Ramaphosa pro-white regime,” the leader of the BLF said.

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