Durban – About 250 members of MKMVA (uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association), RET (Radical Economic Transformation) forces and Ubumbano Lokuthula had by Sunday descended on Nkandla to “secure” the home of former president Jacob Zuma.
The “force” is there to prevent the possible arrest of the former president for defying a Constitutional Court ruling that he must appear before the Zondo Commission, probing allegations of state capture during his nine year rule.
On February 1, Zuma shocked the country when he announced he was going to defy the commission because it was out to get him. He had previously defied a summons for him to appear before the commission between January 18 and January 22.
Despite several attempts by those close to him to persuade Zuma to appear before the commission, he had not changed his mind by Sunday. His spokesperson, VukileMK vets, RET “secure Jacob Zuma’s home“ to prevent possible arrest Mathabela confirmed this.
“He is not going as per his last official communication,” Mathabela said.
The Zondo commission was adamant however that Zuma must avail himself. In a statement issued on Sunday, the commission said it has set aside five days for Zuma to testify and answer allegations made against him.
“The commission has set aside the week of February 15 to February 19, for the hearing of the evidence of former president Jacob Zuma and the chairperson, evidence leaders and all relevant commission personnel will be at the hearing venue on Monday, February 15, 2021, at 10am,” the commission said in the statement.
The commission has previously said it would announce its next course of action on the day Zuma defies its summons.
“In terms of one of the summonses issued by the commission, Mr Zuma is required to appear before the Commission from February 15 to February 19.
“As already indicated, the order of the Constitutional Court compels Mr Zuma to comply with that summons by appearing before the Commission and answering questions that may be put to him.
“Should Mr Zuma carry out his decision not to appear before the Commission on February 15, 2021, and, therefore, act in breach of the summons and in contempt of the order of the Constitutional Court, the commission will announce on that day what further action it will take in regard to such conduct,” it said in a statement issued on February 2 this year.
As the stalemate between Zuma and the commission enters another stretch which includes the possible arrest of the former president, Nkandla was a hive of activity on Sunday.
This was as Zuma’s supporters were gathering to “secure” his home to thwart a possible arrest.
MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus said they were co-ordinating their defence efforts with the RET Forces of KZN which is led by Nkosentsha Shezi. Joining the two groups was Ubumbano Lokuthula organisation, led by Andile Hlatshwayo.
“There are about 100 (MKMVA members) or so. They are going to stay there as long it is necessary … to protect President Zuma,” Niehaus told Independent Media on Sunday.
Shezi refused to divulge how many members his organisation has sent to Nkandla, saying revealing that information would compromise them. He even claimed that local traditional leaders supported their initiative after they met them to inform them of their presence in the area to defend Zuma.
“We can’t say for how long we will stay in Nkandla but what I can say is that we will stay there as long it is necessary … We are happy that even local traditional leaders and the community of Nkandla are supporting us in this,” Shezi claimed.
Hlatshwayo said he will on Monday personally go to defend Zuma’s home in Nkandla. He added that his organisation has sent 50 of its members to take part in the defence of the former President.
“As Ubumbano we are sending 50 people to take part in the defence of Zuma against any planned arrest,” he said.