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'Is he gambling with his health?': SA reacts to Zuma spotted out and about at Durban casino

18 October 2021 - 10:00
Former president Jacob Zuma leaves after his meeting with Duduzile Myeni and Carl Niehaus at Sibaya Casino in Durban.
Former president Jacob Zuma leaves after his meeting with Duduzile Myeni and Carl Niehaus at Sibaya Casino in Durban.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Images of former president Jacob spotted out and about at Sibaya Casino near Durban have sparked a major debate online, with many questioning the condition of his undisclosed illness and parole.

Zuma was spotted leaving the casino last Friday with his allies, including former SAA chair Dudu Myeni.

According to a Sunday Times report, Zuma was caught on camera in public for the first time since being granted parole after being sentenced to 15 months for ignoring a Constitutional Court order.

It received a tip-off that Zuma was holding a “meeting” at the casino owned by his friend, Durban businessman Vivian Reddy.

The eyebrow-raising meeting comes after Zuma told a crowd gathered outside his Nkandla homestead on Thursday that he could only speak to them via video because of “very strict parole conditions”.

“Yes, I remain a prisoner, under very strict parole conditions. It feels like what house arrest and banning orders must have felt like during the colonial-apartheid government,” Zuma told his supporters.

However, department of correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Zuma’s casino visit was above board.

He said Zuma made a request to leave his residence to be in another town and this was approved by his monitoring official.

Responding to the report, Zuma's daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla said her father was under house arrest.

Last month, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte rejected assumptions that Zuma would behave like his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik post parole.

She said the ANC would be proven wrong if Zuma, among other things, was seen playing golf.

“I think there are different circumstances to different situations. So if every situation is going to have a particular narrative, we are not going to allow ourselves to understand what the truth is and what isn’t,” said Duarte.

“The Schabir Shaik behaviour may have been wrong, but we cannot assume that comrade Zuma is not ill and will behave like Schabir Shaik. I think that’s not quite right.

“All I’m saying is that the world is much bigger than one perspective. If there is a mistake then we will be wrong. If we see comrade Zuma going to play golf, for instance, then, of course, you are right and we are wrong,” she said.

On social media, many weighed in on the photo, with some likening him to Shaik and others saying it was his business what he does.