NEWS & ANALYSIS

Zuma arrest warrant a travesty of justice – Zuma support group

Ex-President's supporters says his trial has right from the beginning been marred by political meddling

Media statement by the Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group: Zuma arrest warrant a travesty of justice

12 February 2020

Last week Tuesday, the 4th of February 2020, our country stood witness to a travesty of justice. The courtroom in the High Court of Pietermaritzburg, where the lawyers of President Zuma presented a medical certificate to explain his inability to attend the court hearing due to illness, was turned into a scene of political one upmanship - rather than the even handed execution of justice. Justice Dhaya Pillay issued an arrest warrant for President Jacob Zuma, for execution on the 6th of May, the date set down for the continuation of President Zuma’s pre-trial, together with a co-accused, from the French multi-national company, Thales.

With this unfortunate ruling, judge Pillay plunged our judiciary straight into the political arena, and shredded any hopes of President Zuma, who has been subjected to vicious vilification in the court of public opinion, receiving a free and fair trial.

The trial of President Zuma, which is now more than 24 years in the making, has right from the beginning been marred by political meddling. Who can forget the infamous secret press briefing by the then Head of the NPA, Advocate BulelaniNgucka, setting the scene for a travesty of justice of Shakespearean proportions, when he whispered into the ears of susceptible journalists unsubstantiated rumors of so-called ‘prima faci’ evidence against President Zuma? Nor can we forget the telephone conversations of the Head of the Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy, with Ngucka and other political players, just before the ANC’s National Conference in Limpopo in 2007, about when would be the politically most damaging time for President Zuma to be charged.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was never interested in the application of justice. Instead it allowed itself to be abused, and to become the attack dog of certain corrupt political leaders, and their White Monopoly Capital funders.

It is proven beyond any doubt, how the NPA has been repurposed for political score settling. The manner in which Advocate Billy Downer, and his NPA legal team, again on Tuesday, the 4th of February, blatantly and shamelessly, played politics in questioning President Zuma’s illness was just a continuation of the very same travesty of justice that they have been engaged in right from the very beginning of these two and half decades of persecution of President Zuma. No-one in South Africa can any longer deny that this trial has been characterised by unwarranted meddling of the most blatant political nature, into the prosecutorial domain, at the behest of key political protagonists.

Justice Pillay, with her reckless decision to issue a warrant of arrest for President Zuma sadly made common cause with the very dangerous political game of the NPA. She lifted the veil of Lady Justice, and blighted the reputation of the judiciary, who have been tainted all along, and now became even more compromised by the already muddied reputation of the NPA.

In doing so Pillay called into question the adherence of the judiciary to its sacred constitutional mandate of independence. She has laid bare for all to see that the doctrine of separation of powers, in the instance of this trial of President Zuma, is a farce and fiction - a shriveled up and dying fig leaf, failing to cover the shamelessness of their politically biased nakedness.

Judge Pillay has branded President Zuma a criminal and fugitive of justice. This despite President Zuma’s conscientious and full attendance of every court hearing related to his case, for more than 15 years. This, while his number two co-accused, Thales, a foreign company, owned by white imperialists, only, every time send their white legal team. However, not once was there ever as much as a whisper of complaint from the NPA, nor did any judge involved in this dragged out case ever complain, or considered the possibility of issuing a warning, not even to speak of a warrant of arrest.

Judge Pillay is impervious to the far-reaching consequences of her decision. She has literally dragged our country into a constitutional crisis, and placed the rule of law at risk.

In the first instance, as we have already stated, the President Zuma trial is a product of blatant politicking. The corruption charges against President Zuma has over the years demonstrated how our courts have sadly, and increasingly, descended into the political arena.

The entire spectacle of President Jacob Zuma’s persecution has gone way beyond the scope of the jurisdiction of our courts, into a treacherous political swamp, and the shameful and glaring difference in the terrible treatment that President Zuma is receiving at the hands of the legal system in South Africa, as compared to the free ride that apartheid criminals such as FW de Klerk, WouterBasson and AdriaanVlok are given. This inequality and travesty of justice is there for all of us as a nation to see - and the injustice of it screams to the heavens!

Clearly there is no hope of justice for a black liberation hero, while white privilege and impunity on a grand, apartheid-like scale, continues to prevail even 26 years after the attainment of our democracy. It is intolerable and shameful!

When FW De Klerk had a health scare in 2013, and had to undergo an operation for a pacemaker to be implanted, the then National Spokesperson of the ANC, Jackson Mthembu, send him a warm public message of support, wishing him a speedy recovery. Now, that President Zuma is ill, he is vilified, and Pule Mabe, the current National Spokesperson of the ANC, issued a statement with the deeply hurtful words “if it is true that former President Zuma is ill”. Suddenly in the case of President Zuma the onus to prove that he is ill is placed on him, while in the case of De Klerk his bona fides were fully accepted. The contrast could not be clearer, and it is utterly shameful!

Tomorrow, the white apartheid criminal, FW de Klerk, will walk the red carpet at parliament and be given VVIP treatment at the State of the Nation Address (SONA), while a black liberation hero, in the person of President Zuma, is humiliated, vilified, issued with a warrant of arrest and declared a fugitive of justice. Our Liberation Movement, the ANC, and our democratic government, should collectively hang their heads in shame! We ask ourselves why does our democratic government, led by our beloved African National Congress, continue to defend and promote white privilege at the terrible cost of black (especially African) South Africans?

History has no blank pages: It records that President Jacob Zuma is a freedom fighter who joined the ANC at the young age of 16, and who was incarcerated for 10 years on Robben Island, as a political prisoner, because he was fighting for freedom and justice. When he was eventually released, he spent more than three decades in exile, as a member of uMkhontoweSizwe (MK) – leading the armed assault on Apartheid and its racist system.

How deeply sad, but also ironic, that 26 years after the attainment of our democracy, President Zuma who fought so hard against apartheid is humiliated, and we must watch aghast as this abhorrent system is resuscitated for some people’s selfish political objectives, and for maintaining the control of powerful white monopoly companies over our economy.

We are inspired by the words of the great revolutionary, and internationalist, Cde. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who said: “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you area comrade of mine.”

Today we gathered here as members of the African National Congress, and of civil society, acting in defence of justice, and our hard fought for democracy, and the noble Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Our presence here says unequivocally that we won’t stand by and watch injustice, and the continuation of apartheid like travesties, to be carried out in our name.

Let it be known that the continuing descent by the judiciary into the political arena, is raising the indignation of many organisations that love justice and are committed to fairness, and this certainly includes us as proud members of the ANC. All of us will continue to mobilize civil society for a free, fully liberated, and just South Africa.

Other political formations and opposition parties, as it has been by the case with the Democratic Alliance, have used and abused our courts to undermine the separation of powers; but ultimately it is tragically a judicial decision - such as that of judge Pillay - that lends credence to such dangerous games, and the blatant abuse of our legal system. This decision is tantamount to political abuse, further pressurizing the judiciary to meddlewith the executive authority, and thus to further erode the boundaries of the separation of powers.

This political persecution of President Zuma by the Pietermaritzburg High Court has unwittingly also exposed, for all of us to see, what is actually the routine treatment of black accused people by the South African judicial system.

It is clear to us that what we are now witnessing is the real state and judicial capture by anti-black (especially anti-African) powerful White Monopoly Capital forces, who will stop at nothing in order to continue to secure their centuries long control over our wealth and our land, and the commanding heights of our economy.

Sadly, they have found allies in black compradore capitalists who front for them, and some compromised sell-out politicians, some even within our own beloved African National Congress, who do their dirty bidding for them.

South Africa was subjected to grand-scale state capture since the earliest days of colonialism, and we continue to be captured by the likes of the Ruperts, the Oppenheimers, the Christo Wieses, the Stephen Kosseffs, the Brian Joffes, the KoosBekkers, the Stellenbosch mafia, and their companies Anglo American, Bidvest, NasionalePers, Investec, the big banks and insurance companies etc. We do not need to provide a comprehensive list, they and their strangle-hold grip on our economy, are well-known and glaringly visible for all who want to see the truth.

These are the real state capturers, and we ask ourselves why they are not appearing in front of Judge Zondo at the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture? The Zondo Commission is in danger of becoming a diversion from, and cover-up, for exposing those who are the real state captures, and white monopoly owners, of our South African economy. When President Zuma commissioned the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture, he warned of the danger of this happening, and we believe his clear stance on this critical issue is part of the reason why he is so viciously persecuted.

It is our belief that President Zuma’s persecution is also linked to his efforts to implement Radical Economic Transformation (RET), and the central role that he played in pushing for BRICS to become a critical counter balance, and viable alternative for economic development, and to challenge the dominating power of the Dollar.

We furthermore believe that there is a direct link between the persecution of President Zuma and the awful reluctance, and dragging of feet, to fully - and with speed - implement the pro Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the ANC. The same power dynamics, and powerful interest groups - with the common denominator of White Monopoly Capital, and its fronting agents - are involved.

Therefore, our clarion call for justice for President Zuma, will always go hand-in-hand with our insistence that white privilege and preferential treatment, and white economic domination and control of our economy, must come to an end. President Zuma, and the terrible racist persecution that he suffers as a black (African) South African, is the personification of that struggle for full liberation and black dignity, economic justice, and an end to racism and continuing apartheid practices. As such Msholozi is us, and weare Msholozi!

In our assessment we must agree with the cleric Bishop Ramalaine when he asserts, ”Ifever anybody claimed a ’Long Walk to Freedom’ - Msholozi the warrior, Nxamalala the fighter, knows A Much Longer Walk To Freedom. The only ANC president that made whites to march and call for his removal.”

The time for just complaining and talking about these travesties of injustice and exploitation that Msholozi, and black South Africans in general continue to be subjected to, is over. Enough is enough! The time for action has arrived!

The organisations and progressive South Africans, among others, represented at this press conference, include the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in Gauteng, the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), the Social Justice Forum, and most importantly rank-and-file members of the ANC branches, and our Tripartite Alliance partners. Mostly we are here as loyal members of our Liberation Movement, the ANC.

Our programme of action is not confrontational, but aimed to engage, to raise our concerns, and to open up a frank, unapologetic engagement with the leadership of our organization, the African National Congress, as the leader of society. It goes without saying that this programme of action will in essence also be an expression of solidarity with President Jacob Zuma, as the personification of the majority of black (especially African) South Africans, who continue to be oppressed and exploited for no other reason, but that we are black.

Our call to action and engagement will, among other activities, include:

A mass welcoming back of President Zuma to South Africa, at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), on the day that he returns back from overseas, where he is currently undergoing medical treatment.

The first week of May will also see three consecutive days of rolling mass action. Among other activities, these will include:

A march to the ANC Head Office, Luthuli House, to present a memorandum of our concerns and demands to our ANC leaders. This march will take place on Monday, the 4th of May 2020. It must be emphasized that this will not be a march against the ANC, but to the ANC in order to constructively engage with the leadership of our Movement about our concerns regarding the persecution, and general treatment of President Zuma, and the lack of implementation of the economic transformation Resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the ANC. Luthuli House is our home, and we will march to Luthuli House in order to raise our concerns, and to demand the just and fair treatment of President Zuma as a courageous liberation leader, and fellow ANC veteran in good standing.

The next day, on the 5th of May 2020, we will proceed with a march to the Head Office of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), in order to register our outrage at the manner in which they are using the prosecution of President Zuma for political meddling and subversion.

On the third day, which is the 6th of May, when President Zuma is due to appear again at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, we will gather in our thousands outside the court in solidarity with President Zuma. We will be asking: “Wenzen' uZuma?”. The theme of thatgathering of protest, and solidarity, will be: MSHOLOZI IS US, AND WE AREMSHOLOZI!

Throughout South Africa, the ongoing persecution of President Zuma over decades, and specifically the outrage of the warrant of arrest that had been issued against Nxamalala, has led to deeply felt outrage and discontent.

These events that are planned intend to give expression to that upwelling of national anger, but they are by no means the only events that will take place. Many other activities, in similar vein, will organically arise out the immense groundswell of support that we are seeing for President Zuma, and anger against the inhumane and unjust persecution that he is subjected to. As part of our call to action we encourage all of these.

The time has come for the multitude of voices of the poor and oppressed to be heard!

Justice for President Zuma, and for all of us, cannot be postponed any longer!

Issued by Carl Niehaus on behalf of the Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group, 12 February 2020