From warrant of arrest to return from overseas: Six must-read stories on Jacob Zuma

25 February 2020 - 06:55 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Former president Jacob Zuma arrived back in South Africa at the weekend after receiving medical treatment abroad.
Former president Jacob Zuma arrived back in South Africa at the weekend after receiving medical treatment abroad.

Former president Jacob Zuma is back from abroad after receiving medical treatment.

He was slapped with a stayed warrant of arrest by the Pietermaritzburg High Court after his legal representatives applied for him to be absent from his corruption trial three weeks ago.

Here are six must-read stories about Zuma:

'Not afraid of jail'

Addressing his supporters at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Saturday, Zuma said, contrary to popular opinion, he was not scared of jail and was not using his sickness to escape court appearances.

He said he was receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed illness.

“My days are coming. I will go to court. I have never been scared of jail. When they want me in court, I go. Even when the Boers were in charge, I went there and they sentenced me to 10 years.”

Supporters will stand by Zuma 

Politicians including Supra Mahumapelo, Free State premier Sam Mashinini and former minister Des van Rooyen expressed their support for the former president and weighed in on the warrant of arrest.

Mahumapelo said the warrant was “mischievous” and intended to “stir emotions” among Zuma's supporters.

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks also maintained his support for Zuma, saying he is being persecuted and has “been haunted for 18 years”. 

Too sick for Sona 

All eyes were on Zuma after parliament erroneously announced he would attend the state of the nation address (Sona). His legal representatives denied this, saying: “Our instructions remain that president Zuma is currently receiving medical treatment in a foreign country and will therefore not be attending Sona.”

Zuma defence force 

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association member Carl Niehaus accused the ANC of vilifying Zuma and lambasted the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for playing politics by issuing the former president with a warrant of arrest.

Niehaus and the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League (ANCYL) said they would mobilise the masses and protest in support of the former president. Niehaus said Zuma was a hero who fought for the liberation of black South Africans and history would always have him as such, despite attempts to erase his contribution.

Warrant of arrest 

Judge Dhaya Pillay issued a warrant of arrest for Zuma after he failed to show up for his court case relating to the arms deal. Pillay refused to accept a sick note presented to the court by Zuma's lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, on grounds that it contained inconsistencies.

ANCYL opposes warrant of arrest 

Shortly after Pillay issued the warrant of arrest, the KwaZulu-Natal ANCYL issued a statement condemning the court's decision.

Its secretary-general, Thanduxolo Sabelo, said the warrant was a clear indication that Zuma would not get a fair trial.

Calling Zuma a hero, Sabelo said: “The ANCYL will now embark on mobilising support for president Zuma. We will also mobilise society to stand up and defend president Zuma against the unwarranted attack on our hero.”