- Loyal supporters of former president Jacob Zuma held a night vigil outside of the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday night
- Organisers claimed thousands of supporters had gathered at Freedom Park, but reports indicate the number was somewhere between 100 and 200 people
- Zuma will debut his new legal team when he makes his third court appearance later on Friday morning
Loyal supporters of former president Jacob Zuma gathered to hold a night vigil outside of the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday night. The event was attended by ordinary citizens, ANC supporters and a group made up of religious, business and political leaders.
The group’s gathered at Freedom Park which is opposite the courthouse. Many of those attending the event said they would remain outside of the court buildings until after Zuma had appeared in court for a third time.
Zuma will debut his new legal team when he makes his first appearance in Pietermaritzburg and third appearance in relation to charges of corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud. The matter was moved from the Durban High Court.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the matter is expected to receive a trial date during Friday’s proceedings unless Zuma’s new legal team finds yet another reason to delay the matter even further.
The general expectation among legal experts is that the matter will go to full trial in November and could end up costing Zuma and thereby the South African taxpayers upwards of R7 million by the time it concludes.
Organisers of the night vigil claimed that thousands of people had come out in support of Zuma and gathered at Freedom Park but News24.com reported that by 20:30 there were only around 200 people.
TimesLive.co.za reported that by 21:30 there were around 100 people at the event.
Pietermaritzburg’s much chillier winter weather is thought to have played a part in the less than stellar turnout.
Those attending the night vigil will move to Dales Park on Friday morning and are expected to be joined by large numbers of Zuma supporters for a march to the court building.
MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus said he and other veterans would once again join the march in full MK regalia. Niehaus said Madiba would have wanted the ANC and all of its structure to support a fellow cadre in this matter.
Niehaus added that Madiba would have called on the Constitution to be honoured and for Zuma to be seen as innocent until proven guilty rather than the trial by media which Niehaus said had already convicted and sentenced the former president.
Meanwhile, Zuma’s co-accused in the matter, French weapons manufacturer, Thales has lost its application to have the charges it faces as accused number two in the matter dropped.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced earlier this week that it would not ease up on Thales and the matter would continue as per the original charge sheet.
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