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I’m being persecuted, Zuma tells prayer meeting


I’m being persecuted, Zuma tells prayer meeting

The former president told his fan club that something had gone terribly wrong and he was imprisoned without trial

Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla at her father's homecoming prayer in Durban.
DADDY'S GIRL Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla at her father's homecoming prayer in Durban.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former president Jacob Zuma says he remains a prisoner under very strict parole conditions and it feels like what house arrest and banning orders must have felt like during colonial and apartheid times.

The 79-year-old, who is on medical parole from a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, addressed supporters who gathered in Durban for his welcome home prayer via video.

He said something had gone “terribly wrong” in this country, as the “state has imprisoned me for contempt of court without trial”.

Zuma, who has long maintained his innocence, alleging he has been unfairly persecuted regarding corruption allegations and state capture, said the Zondo commission was “a final measure of those who fear what I represent”.

Speaking of his prison sentence, which followed his conviction for refusing to appear before the Zondo commission, Zuma said the laws and court processes had become sites for the struggle for control of state power between contesting political parties, indicating his arrest was political. 

“Zondo made it clear he wanted me to be sent to jail for two years without trial as a warning to everyone about his apparently unlimited powers. I have submitted an application to an external jurisdiction to adjudicate this matter [of the sentence]. We want to have a law-governed society,” he said. 

The former president also again suggested that the commission’s chair, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, may have been handpicked to persecute him. 

“The chief justice [Mogoeng Mogoeng] gave me the name of a judge from the Western Cape division of the high court [to chair the commission]. In the middle of the process the chief justice came with a different name for the head of the commission, judge Raymond Zondo. I found this puzzling,” he said.

Dubbed a “homecoming prayer”, the gathering at People’s Park in the Moses Mabhida Stadium complex was attended by Zuma loyalists, including suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, former finance minister Des van Rooyen and ousted Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus. 

Former KwaZulu-Natal youth leader Mthandeni Dlungwane, former KZN ANC secretary Super Zuma, ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini, ANCWL KZN secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela, ATM founder Caesar Nongqunga, ATM president Vuyo Zungula and Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambula, were also present. 

Before Zuma’s address, retired South African National Defence Force (SANDF) general Maomela Mojo Motau, speaking on Zuma’s behalf, said the former president wanted black Africans to unite and change the constitution to “reflect the will of the people”.

In the message, Motau said black African unity should transcend politics. 

“He [Zuma] wanted me to say that we, as the African people, have our destiny in our own hands. We need to take responsibility to make sure that we get our freedom,” read Motau.

He said Zuma was calling for all African people from different walks of life to come together for the November 1 local election.

“Let us mobilise in the churches, in youth organisations, traditional leaders, so that we can come together in the next election. We should be able to get more than 80% [of the vote] to start with, making sure that the constitution of the republic reflects the will of the people,” said Motao.

In the letter, Zuma said black South Africas must remember “that we are Africans, we are not blacks. We are Africans. We cannot allow Europeans to come here and call themselves Africans, while they call us ‘black’ or ‘coloured’. We are Africans. That is the first thing he wanted me to say,” said Motao.

He added that the “unite Africans” campaign had been moving around the county to talk to people at churches, including the 12 Apostles Church and the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe), as well as to chiefs, the youth and different politicians in the hopes all parties can move together into the future.

Motau did not specify what banner black African unity would fall under, but several speakers emphasised that Zuma was unequivocal that he and they should vote for the ANC.

Dlamini said she was happy Zuma had been released from jail and that women had gathered to pray for him.

She said even though the Women’s League had fielded Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a candidate for the ANC presidency at the party’s Nasrec conference, women were still mistreated in the party.

“We as women saw it as important being part of this programme. We fielded a female candidate. We are still being persecuted and this thing that is being done to us is new in the history of the ANC, that years after conference people are still ill-treated because of it.” 

She added that mistreatment of women in the ANC was to instil fear in them so “we never stand up for ourselves”.

“But we are tired of being oppressed. Actually, if we elect a woman for president we will live better than now,” she said.

Dlamini also revealed that Zuma had had an operation and was recovering well.