On a day in which former president Jacob Zuma’s health was front and centre, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina reflected on the revelation that Zuma is receiving medical attention in Cuba, and declared he was ready to go to jail for Zuma, though it is unclear why he believes this is necessary.
Now that the justice has pronounced itself, I’m ready to go to jail for @PresJGZuma since he is sick and currently receiving medical attention in Cuba and there is no one to blame. History has no blank pages, and indeed does have capacity to repeat itself.
— Mzwandile Masina (@mzwandileMasina) February 4, 2020
Zuma’s lawyers insisted on Tuesday that their client was ill and could not attend his corruption trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, since he was being treated in Cuba.
Numerous question marks were also raised about the veracity of Zuma’s “sick note”.
The end result was that the court issued a warrant to arrest Zuma, which will only become active should he fail to present himself at his next court date in May.
If Zuma does not return from Cuba, further question marks have been raised about extradition, since South Africa has negotiated treaties but not signed extradition agreements with Cuba, according to the department of justice.
Masina, who has often aligned himself with Zuma and once famously said he would not serve under Cyril Ramaphosa (though he hastily backtracked on that), appeared to once again reach for high drama in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon in which he claimed he was “ready to go to jail for Zuma … now that the justice has pronounced itself … since [Zuma] is sick and currently receiving medical attention in Cuba and there is no one to blame.
“History has no blank pages, and indeed does have capacity to repeat itself,” he added, somewhat cryptically.
Last year Zuma went to Cuba for medical treatment for an unspecified condition, but reports claimed it was linked to “poisoning”.
Numerous sources close to Zuma said at the time he either didn’t trust South African doctors or thought they could not deal adequately with poisonings. They maintained Zuma had gone to Cuba to a “secret hospital”, which puzzled many commentators.
He was also reportedly struggling with his memory.
The Citizen reached out to a source close to Zuma, who confirmed the 77-year-old president was “very ill” in Cuba.
Last year in September, following the arrest of ANC MP and former minister of state security Bongani Bongo, along with several others, Masina controversially tweeted: You can arrest us all, but our ideas are superior and represent [the] aspiration of [the] poor majority. Until we commit to a united the organisation, we will continue embarrassing each other whilst poverty, inequality [and] unemployment finishes our people.”
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)