ANC wishes Zuma well in prison, other political parties welcome incarceration

08 July 2021 - 10:58
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The ANC has wished its former president Jacob Zuma well after he handed himself over to serve a 15-month jail term for contempt of court.

Zuma handed himself over close to midnight on Wednesday after his supporters had been gathering outside his house since last week, when the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months' incarceration for failing to appear at the Zondo commission.

His supporters, members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association and even family members had vowed to block the police from arresting Zuma.

The ANC had even tasked some of its NEC members to visit his Nkandla home amid what commentators called an impending constitutional crisis.

In a statement on Thursday, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party respects Zuma's decision to hand himself over, and called for calm. 

“The ANC notes and respects the decision by former president Jacob Zuma to comply with an incarceration order as issued by the Constitutional Court,” said Mabe.

“The ANC has always restated its unequivocal commitment to and defence of the constitution, in particular the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, among the founding principles and values of the Republic of South Africa.”

He said it was a difficult period in the ANC and the party called on its members to remain calm.

“Former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to abide by the incarceration order was truly a brave and hard decision to make. We wish him well,” said Mabe.

Opposition parties have also weighed in on the matter. 

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said the party reiterates its call to Zuma respect the judgment of the Constitutional Court, the rule of law and to allow justice to take its course.

“The IFP further reiterates its call for calm and restraint in respect of all groups of persons supporting former president Zuma that may wish to hold gatherings, as well as to comply with all Covid-19 regulations,” said Hlabisa.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said his party welcomed that Zuma handed himself over but called on police to still arrest and prosecute those who arranged gatherings outside his home.

He has clearly realised that he no longer has any political power and his initial bravado was just a smokescreen.

The question on everyone's mind is whether he is going to serve his time in an ordinary prison, like all other ordinary criminals, or whether he will use his medical conditions as an excuse to be held in a hospital,” said Groenewald.

UDM president Bantu Holomisa also welcomed that Zuma decided to hand himself over to the police despite earlier signs of resistance.

“He did the right thing and contrary to these 19-year-old so-called MK veterans, who were issuing threatening statements saying they are going to fight up until whatever. It's good that Zuma decided that not under his name that there will be a spill of blood,” said Holomisa.

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