The support network of former president Jacob Zuma, whose arms deal corruption case is back at the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, has accused the previous ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership of turning its back on the embattled leader.
ANC provincial MPL, Vusi Dube — who is one of the leaders of the Zuma support network — said the former ANC provincial top brass led by Premier Sihle Zikalala, did little to mobilise support for the former president.
“In public they always voiced support for President Zuma, but when it came to action they were found wanting. They made empty promises,” he said.
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Among other things, the previous ANC leadership has been accused of failure to organise transport for party members wanting to go to court to lend Zuma support during his appearances.
The perception that the previous leadership was not doing enough to support Zuma is believed to have contributed to their removal at last month’s ANC provincial elective conference.
Zikalala, along with several members of the ANC provincial top five leadership structure, was replaced by senior KZN MPL, Siboniso Duma and other new party leaders.
Duma and members of the new ANC provincial top five leadership have pledged their support for Zuma.
Dube said the Zuma support network has confidence in the ANC’s new provincial leadership.
“From where we are sitting, we have no reason to doubt them when they say they will support President Zuma. We have no reason to believe that they are making empty promises.”
Zuma’s trial, which should have started in April, was postponed to allow the former Supreme Court of Appeal president, Justice Mandisa Maya to rule on the former president’s application to have the lead prosecutor, Billy Downer, removed from the corruption case.
While Maya has since ruled against Zuma, the trial could still be put on ice to allow the Constitutional Court to hear Zuma’s appeal against Maya’s ruling.
Meanwhile, Mzwanele Manyi, the spokesperson of the JG Zuma Foundation, said there is no need for Zuma to attend today’s proceedings.
“The August 1 date was agreed to as an administrative date to evaluate and confirm if August 15 would be feasible as a date for trial. So, with the direction of the court at the last hearing, H. E Prez Zuma is not expected to attend,” he said.
Zuma, who has been charged alongside French company Thales, is alleged to have received kickbacks from the country’s multi-billion rand arms deal concluded in the 1990s.
Dube said the Zuma support network has activated its mobilisation tools ahead of Zuma’s August 15 court appearance.
“As for [Monday] we don’t expect a big crowd because he will not be physically present — it will just be lawyers. However, all roads will lead to Pietermaritzburg on August 15,” he said.
Msunduzi traffic department’s senior superintendent, Bheki Xulu, said part of Church Street, next to the high court, will be cordoned off from 8.30 am on Monday.