Jacob Zuma's followers to gather at Joburg hotel to support him during his trial
Loyal Jacob Zuma's followers are expected to gather at a Johannesburg hotel in a show of support for the former president when he appears in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.
The gathering at the Booysens Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg comes as Covid-19 cases hit 97,302 and 1,903 deaths as of Sunday.
Under new regulations for level 3, conferences and meetings for business purposes are permitted in line with restrictions on gatherings.
Speaking on behalf of Zuma's supporters, MK Veteran's Carl Niehaus told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE supporters from other provinces were encouraged to hold similar gatherings while adhering to the lockdown regulations.
Niehaus said social distancing, the wearing of masks and the size of the gathering, which will be strictly limited to 50 people, would be observed.
Niehaus said: “Zuma can be assured of our unwavering support. If it was not for the Covid-19 pandemic level 3 regulations that are in place, thousands of supporters would have, as usual, gathered tomorrow for Zuma's appearance.
“When the lockdown regulations are eventually lifted, we will definitely again gather at mass rallies at every court appearance,” he said.
The former president will attend criminal proceedings against him at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
He is accused of receiving an annual bribe of R500,000 from his co-accused, French-based company Thales, for protection from an investigation into the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal.
The alleged bribe was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik.
Niehaus said supporters would gather at 8am on Tuesday.
“Those supporters who are not able to attend the Gauteng gathering or gatherings in other provinces are encouraged to follow the court proceedings on television, and to express their support for Zuma in whichever way they possibly can, including dressing in T-shirts and other clothes that show their support,” said Niehaus.
He said for the duration of the trial, every court appearance would be referred to as “Zuma day”.