5,000 Zuma supporters expected at Zondo commission

Former president Jacob Zuma after appearing at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on corruption charges, 20 May 2019, after his battle for the court to grant him permanent stay of prosecution on the charges related to the multibillion-rand arms deal. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The organisers are employing 500 marshals to deal with the massive crowds they predict will arrive.

While reports have surfaced that large crowds are expected to arrive and show their support for former president Jacob Zuma when he appears for the first time at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday, how many people had not made it into the news.

Until now, that is, with City Press reporting on Sunday that the organisers are expecting an estimated 5,000 people.

The organisers will be employing a massive 500 marshals to assist in the undoubtably challenging task of controlling the massive crowd projected to appear.

The full story is available in City Press.

It was reported for the first time last week that Zuma loyalists were mobilising in their numbers in preparation to show support to the former president, who will be at the Zondo commission on Monday through Wednesday.

The commission recently confirmed that it had received a written undertaking from Zuma through his attorneys that he will appear before it from July 15 to 19.

News24 reported that Zuma’s supporters intended to gather outside the venue where the commission sits in Parktown, Johannesburg.

The group reportedly calls itself Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Champions and it has said it expects that a large number of supporters will show up at the commission’s venue.

READ MORE: State capture commission makes ‘special’ arrangements for Zuma appearance

The RET Champions have reportedly shown the former president support during recent court appearances in KZN.

Chairperson of the RET Champions, Nkosentsha Shezi, was quoted as saying the group respected Zuma, the father of RET – which they saw as a way forward – and land expropriation without compensation.

Shezi told the publication that an invitation had been extended to other parties aligned to RET to show their support for Zuma. Black First, Land First (BLF), African Transformation Movement (ATM), and African Content Movement (ACM) are reportedly expected to be part of the supporters gathered at the commission’s venue.

However, ACM leader Hlaudi Motsoeneng reportedly denied having interacted with the RET Champions, while ATM’s Mzwanele Manyi said he had no knowledge of the group.

Meanwhile, BLF leader Andile Mngxitama told the publication that his party would show support for Zuma on its own.

Shezi said that funds were being raised to transport people to the venue and that some KZN African National Congress branches had committed to showing up to show support to Zuma.

The spokesperson of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), Carl Niehaus, said some from the association would show their support for Zuma during his appearance at the commission.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman and Makhosandile Zulu)

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