The small rural town of Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal, is a hive of activity.
Members of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have descended on the area in support of former president Jacob Zuma.
Zuma faces arrest after defying a Constitutional Court ruling, ordering that he appears before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that’s probing allegations of state capture.
This week was set aside for the former president to answer to allegations levelled against him by more than 30 witnesses at the commission.
However, Zuma refuses to appear before commission chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Zuma believes Zondo is bias and says the commission therefore does not have the attributes to conduct a fair, independent and impartial investigation or hearing that involves him or that contradicts the Commission’s script on state capture.
One of his other gripes is that the Commission took him to the Constitutional Court while he was still pursuing a review application over Justice Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself from the state capture inquiry when he testifies.
On Monday, he pulled a no-show at the commission – forcing it to continue without him.
Justice Zondo slammed the former president’s move as unnecessary, saying there was no valid reason for it.
While wrapping up proceedings, Justice Zondo said the Commission will file papers in the Apex court, asking that Zuma be jailed for contempt of court.
A sentence, the former president says, he awaits with bated breath.
“Now that it seems my role in the Commission has come to an end, I wait to face the sentence to be issued by the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, I stand by my statement I made of 01 February 2021 and no amount of intimidation or blackmail will change my position as I firmly believe that we should never allow for the establishment of a judiciary in which justice, fairness and due process are discretionary and are exclusively reserved for certain litigants and not others,” he says in a statement.
Zuma’s supporters are camping outside his homestead in Nkandla and have vowed to defend him.
They believe the former president is being unfairly targeted and is innocent of corruption claims that have been levelled against him.
Traders are also taking advantage of the moment.
They have set up shop, selling ANC gear, among others.
One Wits University School of Governance lecturer has called on the Constitutional Court to act against Zuma’s defiance.
Professor Ivor Sarakinsky says Zuma is playing a political game and can’t be allowed to continue disregarding the law.
ANC in a fix
While the ANC’s highest-decision making body, the NEC, over the weekend reiterated its call for members to cooperate with the Zondo Commission, the Zuma-Zondo saga has put the governing party in an awkward position.
It has once again exposed divisions within the governing party, which some political commentators believe is the reason for its inability to be decisive on the matter.
Earlier in February, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule defended Zuma’s refusal to comply with the Constitutional Court ruling, saying he saw nothing wrong with it.
The party’s stalwarts and veterans on the other hand expressed concern over Zuma’s position on the Zondo Commission and called on the former president to follow the example of the country’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, who appeared in the high court in Pretoria in 2011, when he was required to do so.