The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) is set to meet with former president Jacob Zuma on Thursday afternoon at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
The meeting follows the former president’s “tea” meeting last Friday with EFF leader Julius Malema and his delegation amid his threat to defy a Constitutional Court order compelling Zuma to appear and answer questions before the Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture this month.
Speaking to The Citizen on Thursday morning, MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus said the gathering was long-planned following the MKMVA’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting in January.
He said their meeting with Zuma was intended to show their support for him and his stance against the ConCourt ruling, which they believe is a “very serious erosion of his constitutional rights” to remain silent.
“We will go there to pledge our support and also to tell him that we are ready to protect him in the instance where there’s any attempt to try and arrest him,” Niehaus said.
He said the MKMVA will share with the former president their programme of action on how they will support him.
“We also honour him as the patron in chief of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association and of course we want to assure the president of our unwavering support during this difficult time that he is facing,” he said.
Niehaus has welcomed the support pledged for Zuma by the ANC’s eThekwini region on Wednesday.
“It is known that president Zuma has got a mass base support throughout the country that is not something which is a secret. What we see now is a manifestation and expression of that support in the face of the harassment and terrible treatment that president Zuma is experiencing.
“We are clear that the ruling of the Constitutional Court, which among other in terms of the ruling, also took away the constitutional rights of president Zuma to remain silent and not to incriminate himself is a very serious erosion of his constitutional rights. And by extension, also of the constitutional rights of all South Africans,” he said.
He also added that Zuma has every right not to answer questions put to him by the Zondo Commission.
“If the right to remain silent is compromised and taken away from president Zuma, it also means by implication the right to remain silent of every citizen in SA is under threat. And it is a very serious matter that brings us to the precipice of a constitutional crisis,” Niehaus said.
Niehaus dismissed claims that the MKMVA was fuelling divisions within the ANC over their support for Zuma, saying it is the right of individual members of the ANC to support Zuma.
“Our intention is not to deepen divisions. We do not want to create any factionalism within the ANC, but at the same time, we believe very strongly that president Zuma deserves support and in fact, we believe that all members of the ANC should be supporting him,” he said.
The MKMVA’s meeting is scheduled for 1pm and a media briefing will be held on its outcomes.