Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, who celebrated his 50th birthday yesterday, and former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng were in the Durban High Court this morning to support former president Jacob Zuma.
Not just anyone could enter the courtroom though. Media, friends and ‘VIP’s’ had to apply for accreditation. They had to sign in and then be given colour-coded wristbands.
Zuma appeared in court today on charges of fraud and corruption. The case was postponed to July 27.
Zuma is facing one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud in a case linked to the late 1990s arms deal.
Other ANC leaders who came to show support for Zuma include Carl Niehaus, who recently criticised the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) for deciding that the party’s members should not show support in court for Zuma and Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, who was recently convicted of assault.
“We are here to support the leader of our revolution,” Lungisa said outside court.
The councillor described Zuma as a hero who had championed radical economic transformation and expropriation of land, adding the former president was under an attack waged by white-owned media.
Lungisa likened Zuma to Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani, and said the three had been revered during apartheid, and with Zuma being the only living ‘leader of the trio’, that was why he was still feared.
A crowd of people, some dressed in ANC T-shirts, gathered outside the court to support Zuma. Other supporters included various organisations, such as some bodies under the National Interfaith Churches of South Africa (NICSA), Congress of South African Students (Cosas), whose representatives lauded Zuma for announcing free higher education, and Black First Land First (BLF).
BLF’s Andile Mngxitama said Zuma’s successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, was failing the country because of the recent fuel hike and this year’s VAT increase.
The former North West premier criticised the media for passing judgment on Zuma before the legal proceedings had been concluded.
Mahumapelo reiterated Niehuas’s criticism of the governing party’s decision that Zuma should not be supported by party members. He said the ANC North West was also behind Zuma.
“We are here to support comrade Jacob Zuma because we believe that what is being done to him is wrong,” he said.
Mahumapelo dismissed reports that KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Free State were planning to establish a breakaway party from the ANC.
“There is no new organisation that we are going to form. We are going to die in the African National Congress,” Mahumapelo said.