#FreeJacobZuma group heads to International Criminal Court after petition to Ramaphosa draws blank

04 August 2021 - 15:54
By mawande amashabalala AND Mawande AmaShabalala
People looting a shop in the Springfield Value Centre in Durban flee from a police officer on July 12 2021 as riots continued under the hashtags #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown on social media.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU People looting a shop in the Springfield Value Centre in Durban flee from a police officer on July 12 2021 as riots continued under the hashtags #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown on social media.

The #FreeJacobZuma movement on Wednesday announced a multipronged strategy to demand the release of the embattled former president who is serving 15 months in jail for contempt of the country's highest court.

This after a bid in a form of a petition to President Cyril Ramaphosa drew a blank.

The movement now plans to report Ramaphosa, his cabinet and security cluster ministers and generals to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in their handling of the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng that left more than 300 people dead.

In their submission to the ICC, the group contends they will argue that there is prima facie evidence of "crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against this administration".

Their list of "accused" people to The Hague, the same platform Zuma, wanted SA to disassociate from during his tenure as head of state, includes Ramaphosa, police minister Bheki Cele, his defence counterpart Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and speaker of parliament Thandi Modise, among others.

Defence Force chief Lt-Gen Rudzani Maphwanya, his counterpart for the army Lt-Gen Khulekani Mbatha and police chief Gen Khehla Sithole are also cited among the accused. 

"Among several reasons for proceeding charges against President Ramaphosa and other accused in terms of article 5 of the Rome Statute is the ethnic mobilisation that President Ramaphosa indulged in and the resultant casual link to the Phoenix massacre," reads a statement by the movement, penned by suspended ANC member Carl Niehaus. 

"Furthermore, President Ramaphosa violated section 201(3) of the South African constitution with regards to the manner in which 25,000 SANDF troops were deployed."   

The approach to The Hague, said Niehaus, will not be the only front on which they will apply pressure on the authorities. Another will be occupying the streets of Pietermaritzburg around the high court precinct when Zuma appears for his corruption trial next Tuesday.

"Our immediate response, and protest action, will be on Tuesday, the 10th of August, in Pietermaritzburg, when President Zuma is due to appear again in the Pietermaritzburg high court for the fatally flawed and compromised, so-called ‘arms-deal’ trial," he said. 

"The #FreeJacobZuma campaign is mobilising for a strong presence and message to be delivered that [former] president Zuma must be released forthwith."

Other leaders of the #FreeJacobZuma campaign include controversial figures such as ex-ANCYL deputy president and erstwhile Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, RET champions boss Nkosentsha Shezi, ex-EFF member Lufuno Gogoro and Gauteng ANC member Phapano Phasha.  

TimesLIVE