South Africa ANC national official executive member and Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association representative Carl Niehaus isn’t worried about the backfire he may get from the decision party for supporting previous president Jacob Zuma at the Durban High Court on Friday.
“I am not worried about that‚” he said outside the courthouse where Zuma will appear on Friday on corruption charges. “I joined the ANC 40 years ago under the apartheid regime. I knew I could die. I know that comradeship is all about support. A soldier does not leave another soldier on the battlefield.
“I don’t care if anyone wants to have negativity against me and my fellow comrades that are with me at this court know that we are acting as people with background. We are not charlatans who simply go with the wind and all our jackets to be blown in the wind.”
Niehaus said he did not represent any organisation at the court.
“I am here as a comrade‚ a friend and a fellow soldier of comrade Jacob Zuma. Personally‚ when I was a prisoner as a political prisoner‚ the first leader that came to me was comrade Jacob Zuma. He came to me when I was in a difficult situation. Why should not support him?”
Niehaus was concerned that the charges against Zuma dated back to “long ago and was then part of political manipulation”. He said the charges were part of a huge wave of negativity and character assassination taking place against Zuma.
Zuma is appearing on 16 charges that include fraud‚ corruption and racketeering.
These charges relate to 783 payments he allegedly received as a bribe to protect French arms company Thint from an investigation into the controversial multi-billion-rand arms deal. The alleged bribe was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik.
There was a high police presence in the court precinct in Durban early on Friday morning. Roads in the vicinity of the courthouse were closed from 6am.
Police warned that vehicles parked in the “action zone” would be towed away.
Hundreds of Zuma supporters are expected to arrive ahead of the former president’s appearance at 10am. They have already indicated defiance against the ruling party by wearing their ANC T-shirts.