cops on high alert in tense trial city

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Police officials yesterday said the unruly behaviour by ANC president Jacob Zuma's supporters in Durban this week had prompted them to ensure that there is adequate security at the Pietermaritzburg high court today.

Thousands of ANC and alliance members are expected to stampede into the provincial capital city to support Zuma when he appears in court.

High court judge Chris Nicholson is expected to rule on whether last year's decision to charge Zuma with crimes including racketeering, corruption, fraud and money-laundering was lawful.

"Police will be out in numbers to ensure that the day's proceedings are not disturbed in any way," Kwazulu-Natal police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said.

"What happened in Durban on Wednesday has been an eye opener and we will be ready to quash any life-threatening situation."

In Pretoria yesterday about 200 pro-Zuma residents of Winterveldt in North West burnt a T-shirt bearing a picture of President Thabo Mbeki outside the Pretoria high court.

The protesters called for the withdrawal of all charges against Zuma and threatened to make the country ungovernable if they were not.

Speakers from the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and the ANCYL re-iterated Youth League leader Julius Malema's threat to wage war should Zuma be convicted.

Cosas Tshwane region chairman Ntsako Mogobe said: "We say we will shoot for Zuma. If you charge him, we are going to make war in this country."

Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers Union has called for its members to come out in numbers to support Zuma.

There are fears trial examinations for matric pupils will be disrupted in the city.