Gupta associates and former ministers Mosebenzi Zwane and Des van Rooyen were on Thursday among the high-profile ANC members who came to support former president Jacob Zuma in his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Zwane, a former mineral resources minister, described Zuma as one of the country’s greatest leaders, saying he was being persecuted instead of celebrated.
“I have learnt a lot from him, and I believe he does not get the respect he deserves.
“But he is not the first one, because Winnie Mandela went through this, and many other leaders will go through this as right leaders, which must be celebrated, are persecuted,” he said outside the court.
“He is one of the best leaders I have worked with,” said Zwane.
Zwane added that the case would teach South Africa whether all people were equal before the country’s justice system.
“I am not insinuating that we should not trust our justice system, but through this case our people will know where the country stands when it comes to equality for all in the eyes of justice, because we have fought for all to be equal before justice,” he said.
Van Rooyen, a former co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister, described the case as “very interesting”.
“To a certain extent one can characterise it as weird, because after all these years, the case has not yet been concluded.
“The fact that we have someone who was not even part of those committees that were established to deal with the procurement of arms.
“The man (Zuma) accused in this matter was not part of those com- mittees as he was still an MEC (for economic development in Kwa-Zulu- Natal), but he was found to be implicated.
“I hope that constitutionality will prevail at the expense of mob justice,” he said.
In court, the National Prosecuting Authority blamed French arms dealer Thales for a portion of the delay in bringing the charges against Zuma, saying the company had been dishonest while the NPA was trying to honour an agreement.
Judges Jerome Mnguni, Esther Steyn and Thoba Poyo-Dlwati adjourned the case to Friday.