Zuma supporters plan night vigil and march ahead of first court appearance
Thousands of former President Jacob Zuma loyalists will hold vigil through the night on Thursday before marching to the courtroom precinct on Friday morning.
Hundreds of police officers‚ including crowd control and riot units‚ have been placed on alert‚ with authorities warning motorists and the public to steer clear of the area around the court.
Zuma’s first appearance on charges of alleged impropriety linked to the arms deal has even halted proceedings in other courts in the complex while the high-profile matter is heard.
The high court registrar issued a notice to the legal fraternity and the public that "due to stringent security measures"‚ the Registrar’s office will only open at 11am and motion court - which hears applications - will also only commence at 11am.
A group of pro-Zuma supporters are expected to gather at the Durban University of Technology at 3pm on Thursday and march to the Albert Park ahead of a night vigil.
Metro Police spokesman Sewpersad Parboo said that about 2‚000 people were expected at the night vigil on Thursday night‚ while about 5‚000 are expected to gather on Friday morning to march to the court.
“The march will start at King DiniZulu gardens and they will move onto Pixley KaSeme Street. From there they will use Dr Yusuf Dadoo Road to make their way onto Margaret Mncadi Street or the Old Victoria Embankment.”
He said that the crowd would then gather on a grass patch in front of the court house.
“There will be rolling road closures with the march itself and outside the high court there will be lane closures. The road won’t be closed entirely‚” he said.
“We are urging all road users to stay away from high court area. We are concerned about the implications on traffic and we are on not sure how the crowd will behave and we want to plan for any eventuality‚” he added.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said that officers would be deployed to maintain the order during the court proceedings.
“A number of police officers will be deployed in all the routes‚ hotspots and outside court to monitor the situation‚ contain the crowd and prevent any criminal activities.”