Fresh from a state visit in the United Kingdom, President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC officials will discuss the implications of a court decision that effectively overturned the medical parole granted to former president Jacob Zuma by his political ally – former correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser.
As fears deepened that the situation could lead to another possible public unrest, it has emerged that Zuma’s supporters were planning to block his possible return to prison after the Supreme Court of Appeal effectively rescinded his medical parole, which Fraser granted against the advice of a medical parole board.
The department has since indicated that it will appeal the decision, arguing another court may arrive at a different conclusion. ANC treasurer and acting secretary general Paul Mashatile said the party’s officials would discuss the Zuma matter and its implications this week. He told Sunday World that Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola would give the party’s leadership a briefing on the matter.
“Personally, I’m sympathetic to the view that given his age, president Zuma shouldn’t be going to jail. It is a view I have held for years now, that when you are as old as he is there could be other forms of ensuring he actually serves his punishment, but that is obviously left to the courts and the authorities,” he said.
Zuma’s supporters have warned there will be anarchy should authorities try to re-arrest the former president.
Musawenkosi Chili of Ubumbano Lwezinduna, an organisation representing izinduna (headmen), told Sunday World that “hell will break loose” should Zuma be taken back to prison. “Mobilisation has already started in various hostels, and everyone agrees that there is a campaign to ridicule uNxamalala (Zuma). We will be his first line of defence should they want to arrest him again and we are prepared to put our bodies on the line. The message is clear ‘wathinta uZuma uzofa’ (If you touch Zuma, you will die).”
Another grouping mobilising in the taxi industry said will support the campaign to prevent Zuma from being incarcerated. “We have lots of problems as a country and the government of Ramaphosa and the biased judicial system seems to be fixated with Zuma. He is an old man who should be left to rest. What purpose will getting Zuma to prison serve? If Zuma is arrested, it would be a declaration of war,” said Mfana Ngubane on behalf of various taxi associations in KZN.
– Sunday World.