Jacob Zuma’s supporters appear to be showing no signs of relenting, as they continue to express their support for the former South African president on Sunday morning.
Many of them had driven more than 400 kilometers to gather outside Zuma’s remote home in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, where they promised to defy any attempts to detain or arrest him.
They were dressed in the insignia of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, which featured Zuma’s face and T-shirts with the question “Wenzeni uZuma?” written in Zulu on the front. (“Can you tell me what Zuma has done?”).
Their songs praised Zuma as a hero of the 1980s struggle against white minority rule and hailed him as a nation’s hero.
Hundreds of his fans gathered on Sunday, July 4, to hear him announce that he was appealing his prison sentence and that he demanded justice.
Last Monday, South Africa’s highest court sentenced the former president to 15 months in prison for violating a court order to testify before a corruption investigation commission.
“I’m not asking for sympathy, but justice. My age and health condition and any other mitigating circumstances were not considered when the imprisonment was decided”, he said.
Zuma’s deadline to surrender himself expired on Sunday, according to the South African government. Several witnesses, including former cabinet ministers and senior executives from state-owned companies, have testified to his misconduct in the case. If he does not comply by Monday, he will very certainly be arrested.
“Sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic at my age is the same as sentencing me to death,” Zuma added.
South African President Jacob Zuma has traveled to KwaZulu-Natal to defuse tensions and prevent any violent clashes from occurring. He has filed many judicial actions to avoid jail, including an application to have his sentence overturned. In a statement released by his foundation, he said he would seek an interdict to prevent the police from detaining him on Tuesday.