Supporters of imprisoned former president Jacob Zuma are patiently pushing forward with their campaign to get him released, with the latest protest march taking the intense political battle to Luthuli House, the ruling party’s national headquarters in central Johannesburg.
The Luthuli house bound march is scheduled for Friday morning, and Mxolisi Ngobese, a spokesperson for the organizers, said it would be a two-pronged march that would continue until Zuma is released from Estcourt prison in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, where he is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
The march takes place as the country awaits a judgement from the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), which Zuma addressed, claiming that he was imprisoned without a trial, as required by the Constitution, and asking it to overturn its decision.
Ngobese said their march is in response to a letter they sent to Ramaphosa on July 21 this year, demanding, among other things, that he release Zuma from prison, dismiss all security cluster ministers, and investigate the Phoenix killings, which killed more than 20 people.
“Our march on Friday will be about two issues – we demand that the ANC and Ramaphosa release former president Zuma from jail and we will never back down on that call until we have been heard and Zuma is back home. Zuma is one of us and we have to fight for him, as you also know that you don’t abandon a fellow traveller during his hour of need,” Ngobese said.
When asked if the ANC’s national spokesperson, Pule Mabe, is aware of the march Ngobese and other Zuma supporters plan to stage at Luthuli House on Friday, he did not react.
Despite the fact that no large rallies are planned to make their demands, Nkosentsha Shezi, the national chairwoman of RET (Radical Economic Transformation) Champion, stated that they continue to demand Zuma’s release. Shezi also chastised the ConCourt for taking too long to rule on Zuma’s remission case, claiming that the delay was needless.
“We still stand by calls to free Zuma and we also demand it. The people should continue, within the framework of the law, to make the call and demand that Zuma is released from jail,” Shezi said.
Another faceless march is expected to be staged on Wednesday, in Richards Bay, on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. A leader from the Musa Dladla region, who is sympathetic to Zuma, said the reason why no one wanted to talk about it was that they don’t want the police to pin it on someone and arrest that person as a “ringleader”.