Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
12 Feb 2020
1:51 pm

Zuma’s attendance at Sona may be fake news to question his health – Niehaus

Gopolang Moloko

Niehaus questioned FW de Klerk's treatment as opposed to Zuma and why De Klerk would be allowed to walk the red carpet, while Zuma was vilified.

Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma, centre, as he appears in Johannesburg Monday July 15, 2019, before a commission probing allegations of corruption during his tenure as the country's leader as president from 2009 until 2018. (Pool Photo via AP)

There has been no confirmation that former president Jacob Zuma will be attending the state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday, said controversial former ANC national executive committee member Carl Niehaus to a group of Zuma supporters on Wednesday morning.

Part of the ANC held a press conference at the Booysens Hotel on the “abuse and vilification” of Zuma, where Niehaus said parliaments announcement may be fake news in order to cause aspersions that Zuma was genuinely ill.

“There’s been no information from us (the ANC) and especially the lawyers of umsholozi that he will attend. we fear that that announcement is fake news, in order to cause aspersions that umsholozi is ill.

“We will find out what the exact facts are.”

Niehaus questioned FW de Klerk’s treatment as opposed to Zuma and said De Klerk would be allowed to walk the red carpet, while Zuma was vilified.

He said he had spoken to Zuma’s lawyers who had not confirmed whether the former president would attend Sona on Thursday.

According to reports, he will be attending while he has previously been unable to attend court proceedings due to alleged health issues.

If Zuma does attend, it will be the first time he attends a Ramaphosa-headed Sona.

Last week, a warrant of arrest was issued for Zuma by the court for failing to appear in the Pietermaritzburg high court for a matter related to the arms deal corruption case against him.

The former president cited a medical condition for his absence, which resulted in the warrant stayed until May 6, when the matter is set to resume. The court accepted Zuma’s reasons of illness but required further evidence on his condition.

Timeslive reported Zuma’s lawyer Daniel Mantsha stressing that Zuma’s health was an issue of national security.

Invitations were sent to former presidents and former speakers of the national assembly, with former presidents FW de Klerk, Thabo Mbeki, and Kgalema Motlanthe confirming their attendance.

Late last year, Zuma was also unable to attend the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture due to an alleged illness from 11 to 15 November.

He was expected to testify on issues which included allegations about the failed nuclear deal with Russia and why he fired then finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan. The commission and Zuma’s lawyers agreed that arguments would be heard at a later stage, due to Zuma’s health.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.