- Bishop Bheki Ngcobo says former president Jacob Zuma is being unfairly targeted by the political elite
- Ngcobo says Zuma is a target because he has always been on the side of the poor and started the foundations of radical socio-economic transformation
- The bishop and other Zuma backers have repeated their call for the people of South Africa to support Zuma during his upcoming trial
A group of religious, political and business leaders have repeated their call on the people of South Africa to support former president Jacob Zuma when he makes his first court appearance in Durban on Friday.
The National Interfaith Council of South Africa (Nicsa), the Commission for Religious Affairs (CRA), Delangokubona Business Forum, the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (NafupaSA) and Black First Land First (BLF) held a press briefing in Durban on Wednesday to outline why they supported Zuma.
Bishop Bheki Ngcobo said Zuma had consulted with religious leaders throughout his tenure as president and on numerous occasions asked them to play a role in rebuilding South Africa.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Ngcobo believes Zuma has been unfairly targeted by the political elite because he had always been on the side of the poor.
"It is a matter of concern that for all these years Zuma has been subjected to what appears to be a well-calculated campaign to isolate him. We have many unanswered questions. Could it be that Zuma is targeted because he has always been on the side of the poor? Could it be that Zuma is targeted because he preferred free education for the poor?" said Ngcobo.
Ngcobo said the same people who opposed Zuma’s pro-poor policy’s called for his arrest.
He said it was sad to see that Zuma had already been found guilty of his alleged crimes through the court of public opinion. Ngcobo said his group believed the rights of the accused should be honoured, with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty being a cornerstone.
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama said Zuma was the victim of an elaborate plot by white monopoly capital.
"These charges come very late and were timed. It's shocking to hear leaders of the ANC saying members of the ANC mustn't come and support their own member. We as comrades support each other," he said.
Mngxitama said police minister Bheki Cele should not be allowed to intimated Zuma’s supporters, this comes after Cele said Zuma should not call on the ANC to defend him.
On the ANC NEC's call for Zuma's supporters not to wear ANC colours on Friday, Mngxitama said: "It is not illegal in South Africa to wear your political party's T-shirt. Don't be afraid! If you love your political party's T-shirt bring it, you'll be protected."
Bishop Vusi Dube said the night vigil and planned march to the Durban High Court would require decisive leadership.
"We cannot allow hundreds of thousands of people to come to court without any directive because at the end of the day if Durban is burning because of unruly people, we are responsible as leaders," he said.
Zuma is expected to make a brief appearance in the Durban High Court on Friday. He faces 16 charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering in connection with the controversial arms deal.
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