Zuma is not going to jail, his family insists

Former South African President Jacob Zuma

Durban – As the Constitutional Court edges closer to handing down judgment on the urgent application brought by the Zondo Commission, to have former president Jacob Zuma jailed for two years for defying its summons, Zuma’s family insist he will not be sitting in a holding cell.

This was said by one of Zuma’s sons, Edward Zuma, on Tuesday during an interview with Independent Media, which wanted some clarifications regarding a Zulu traditional ritual held at Zuma’s home, in Nkandla, on Saturday afternoon.

After pictures of the behind-closed-doors traditional ritual were leaked, showing Zuma carrying a spear and a knobkerrie inside a kraal (sacred space for rituals), there was speculation that the former president held it to appease his ancestors and ask for their protection, as he braces himself to be jailed.

However, his son Edward said the traditional ceremony, which was attended by two chiefs of the vast Zuma clan (Inkosi Siphiwe Zuma of Mpendle and Bhekumuzi Zuma of Nkandla), had nothing to do with any political developments around the former president.

He said the event was organised for all Zumas across the country and it was shelved when the country was placed on lockdown from late March last year.

“Those who are saying that are spreading lies. That ceremony had nothing to do with Zuma, but it was for the whole clan of the Zumas,” Edward said.

Zuma usually slaughters cows to appease his ancestors every time he is facing challenges. The last known ancestor appeasing ceremony that Zuma held was in early December 2012. That was when he was fighting for re-election as president of the ruling party in Mangaung, when he was up against Kgalema Motlanthe.

Turning to the pending ruling of the ConCourt, which is expected soon, Zuma’s son they are ready for the apex court to rule on the matter, but said should it hand down a ruling which is not favourable to them, there will be a push back from them.

“We are ready for them (ConCourt) to make a ruling, however, if the ruling is not what we wanted, we will respond accordingly. What I can tell you is that no one going to arrest Zuma, there will be a backlash if they do that,” he said from Nkandla.

Late last week, when Zuma was supposed to mitigate for his sentence, he wrote a letter to the court, telling it that he is ready to be jailed for his “political position”, which is aimed at showing how the judiciary has unfairly treated him for decades.

Still, on the weekend’s traditional ritual, Edward said he had no idea whether the former president used the presence of the two chiefs of the Zuma clan to explain to them why he had decided to defy the country’s courts.

“I don’t know whether that was discussed because the ceremony had nothing to do with courts or the country’s politics. The event was a gathering of all Zuma’s to observe their culture and I doubt that was even discussed,” he said.

Inkosi Siphiwe Zuma appeared to concur with Edward that the issue of the former President and the courts was not discussed during the ritual and the attention was on the agenda of the day.

“We did not talk about that. Remember that the gathering was not for those issues but for the ceremony. Maybe he will take time some other day and come to us to talk about it,” the traditional leader said. – IOL