Ntsiki Ncayiyana, deputy president of Amadelangokubona Business Forum, a member of the deeply dodgy business fraternity bankrolling support for former president Jacob Zuma’s latest frolic with the criminal justice system, says calls for donations were made to pay for buses to transport supporters to court on Friday.
Deposits were to be made into an ABSA bank account belonging to the Jacob Zuma Trust Fund, so that, says Ncayiyana, “whoever is in charge of it will be liable for every cent that comes in”.
As of 4 April 2018, Ncayiyana told the media: “No deposits have been made yet into the account.”
According to one of the organisers, Bishop Vusi Dube, who was interviewed at Thursday’s night vigil, “more than 200 buses will be provided.” He was not able to tell reporters who was footing the bill.
Muzi Hlengwa of the equally dubious National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (NafupaSA) announced that “the transport will be available for the duration of the trial”.
As the South African public is footing Zuma’s legal expenses, the trial is likely to drag on until hell freezes over, so these philanthropic businessmen can expect a hefty travel bill.
Or can they?
On Friday morning, Jacob’s jamboree left thousands of commuters – students, scholars, workers and people with hospital appointments – stranded across Durban as around 80% of eThekwini Municipality’s almost 600-strong bus fleet was reportedly rerouted to collect supporters from Umlazi, KwaMashu, Ntuzuma and other areas.
According to well-placed sources, when municipal buses are hired out for private use, a waybill and special authorisation must be signed. It seems this did not happen as buses were reportedly moving freely in and out of the depots with none of the required documentation.
To the ire of the many commuters who use pre-paid Muvo cards – whereby trips are pre-loaded on their cards – they were left out of pocket as they struggled to find cash for alternative transport. Some cash-strapped employees did not make it to work at all, while others felt it would not be safe for them to go into town, believing they might face intimidation if they were seen going to work instead of supporting Msholozi.
The eThekwini Bus Service is run as a joint venture with Tansnat. Its sole shareholder is Mandla Gcaba, Jacob Zuma’s nephew.
So yet again it seems poor workers’ needs were sacrificed and Durban ratepayers gifted the thieves clinging to Zuma’s gravy train.
The ANC’s NEC had informed members that they were free to attend Zuma’s court case in their personal capacity, but were expressly told not to wear ANC regalia. As police minister Bheki Cele – who is also a member of the NEC – put it:
“If you commit crimes you must face the charges without calling the ANC to defend you as if when you were stealing you were doing it for the ANC, while you were stealing for yourself and your children.”
Cele also called for party structures to stay away from Zuma’s case, stating:
“There is no ANC structure that is going to support any person who is facing charges of corruption,” and warned that supporters going to court “must never dress in ANC colours”.
Yet a defiant sea of black, green and gold enveloped the Durban High Court on Friday, an effective middle finger to newly minted President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ministers who claim they are intent on ending corruption and the State Capture project.
SAfm reported that among other members of KZN’s cabinet, the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, was seen among Zuma’s cheerleaders, marching to court.
Amid calls from the police minister for distance from the Zuma matter, with KZN DPP Advocate Moipone Noko – a tainted Zuma ally – leading the prosecution team, and MEC Kaunda marching openly among the JZ faithful, it is small wonder that provincial SAPS suffers a schizophrenic relationship with the criminal justice system. And it can be no small coincidence that KZN – more specifically eThekwini – is South Africa’s ground zero for political murders, the majority of which remain unsolved.
So will the real ANC please get off the fence and show your true colours, for the black, gold and green has become somewhat grubby – and unity is no substitute for justice?
‘Zuma is like Jesus’
Another disturbing aspect of the imbroglio has been the prominence of priestly support and the faithful wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Zuma is like Jesus”.
Although the likes of Pastor Vusi Dube and his snake-oil salesmen have little credibility among right thinking congregants, it is unseemly for any person of the cloth to vow his allegiance, lay hands on and pray for a venal thief who has so damaged our country, especially the poor – someone who clearly models himself as a new messiah yet who thinks nothing of turning brother against brother; who laughs and dances while comrade kills comrade; someone who will not hesitate to plunge our country into civil war should it serve his purpose to stay out of jail.
And no, as clearly stated by constitutional legal expert, Pierre de Vos: the Constitution does not guarantee anyone the right to be presumed innocent by ordinary citizens, who are entitled to form their own opinions based on their personal assessment of the weight of probability of evidence before them, irrespective of judicial findings. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then in all probability, we can believe it is a duck. We do not need a judge to tell us “this is a duck”.
Based on what we have all seen of Zuma (and his devotees), this is no time for religious leaders worth their salt to meekly turn the other cheek; it is time they called out these false prophets and denounced those who sold our national hope for seven pieces of silver.
The ANC may claim to be a broad church, but will the real clergy please stand up and say loudly: not in our name! Your silence is further blurring the line between right and wrong.
Is KZN a federal state?
UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa, voicing concern at the attendance at Zuma’s court appearance of KZN Premier Willies Mchunu, MECs Sihle Zikalala, Weziwe Thusi and Mthandeni Dlungwana, eThekwini Executive Mayor Zandile Gumede and other members of the provincial cabinet, and over whether taxpayers’ money contributed to the charade, has asked for an official investigation into whether KZN is a federal state.
Holomisa is right to be concerned – we need all be concerned.
While Friday’s gathering of several thousand supporters in no way reflects the sentiment of most ordinary people in KZN, from the workers and unemployed at the coalface of institutionalised corruption to the ethnic chauvinism on display at the hearing and the inflammatory ranting of Andile Mngxitama – who bears an increasing resemblance to the late AWB leader, Eugene Terreblanche – supporters’ open defiance of the ANC political leadership, disdain for the rule of law and JZ’s apartheid-style divide-and-rule tactics feed into a dangerously seditious narrative.
What will be next? Will Zuma and his thugs declare KZN a sovereign Zulu state, and secede from the rest of South Africa? He has sounded the war drums often enough. In other countries, what Zuma has done to our nation would be termed treason. Is it not time we called the monster by its name and added this to the charges against him?
President Ramaphosa ended his inaugural State of the Nation address by invoking the lyrics of the late Hugh Masekela: “Thuma mina.”
Here in KZN, we are calling you. Will the real government please stand up and end this madness before it’s too late? DM
Vanessa Burger is an and independent community activist for human rights and social justice