Ring of steel to protect Zuma and public

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The police have thrown a ring of steel around the Pietermaritzburg high court ahead of ANC president Jacob Zuma's appearance today.

The court itself has been fenced off and is restricted to accredited media, political and security staff and close family of Zuma and his co-accused.

Yesterday SAPS spokesman Joey Jeevan said security personnel around the court building will include members of the bomb squad, private security guards and police snipers.

She said the bomb squad would sweep the court building before the proceedings, while the snipers would be strategically placed around the court precinct.

Jeevan said the police were not taking any chances since the public's safety was of paramount importance.

She said contingency plans were in place to ensure the safety of the public during and after the trial.

In addition, areas in and around the court precinct have been cordoned off to traffic. Buses transporting people have also been given drop-off and pick-up points.

Jeevan said yesterday the security plans were a carbon copy of the previous Zuma court appearances in 2006.

"The whole of the CBD has been cordoned off," she said. "The public is urged to obey the instructions of law enforcement officers.

The Msundusi municipality has also urged members of the public to follow police instructions.

Thousands of ANC, SACP and Cosatu members are expected to flood the city today and tomorrow in support of the man they want to be the country's next president.

Yesterday Zuma's supporters held a night vigil at the court.