Divergent views are rife regarding the health of former number one Jacob Zuma. First Julius Malema submitted that Zuma was too old to be jailed. But Carl Niehaus believes that the numerous court appearances and public attacks are responsible for Zuma’s dwindling health.
Former president Jacob Zuma’s illness was caused by the stress of being in and out of court and public vilification, said his die-hard supporter Carl Niehaus.
Niehaus said this on Wednesday as he was preparing to join hundreds of Gauteng radical economic transformation activists who are expected to gather at the OR Tambo International Airport to welcome Zuma on Saturday.
Zuma will land at the airport on Saturday on his return from Cuba where he was receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
“He has been subjected to court appearances and found guilty by public opinion, and we believe that his illness is very much related to the relentless pressure that has been going on for 15 years.
“It is not just the issue of appearing in court, but it is a general vilification that the president suffers in the media and the attitude of finding him guilty without him being found guilty by the court,” said Niehaus.
He said while Zuma was being prosecuted and vilified in public, former apartheid president FW de Klerk who led an “apartheid murderious system” was enjoying freedom.
Zuma is expected at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on May 6.
“There is a warrant of arrest for President Zuma while de Klerk who has been involved in crimes against humanity, an apartheid criminal, has got no warrant of arrest or anything hanging over his head, and in fact he is free,” said Niehaus.
As a result of ill-health, Zuma was also unable to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to respond to allegations levelled against him.
Niehaus said de Klerk, who should be arrested instead of Zuma, had shown arrogance by denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity.
“We know that it was during his time as the president of the country that the Boipatong massacre happened (on June 17, 1992), and we know that there was a finding by the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission).
“We also know that de Klerk gave the order for Mthatha raid (8 October 1993), which was a total, total disaster, because they ended up killing five sleeping young students who were totally innocent, but he is free while president Zuma faces the warrant of arrest” he said.
A pamphlet about Zuma’s welcome home notice had been posted on social media. It has a picture Zuma sitting in the courtroom dock. The poster also has the words “Apartheid murderer De Klerk is a FREE MAN while President Zuma is facing a WARRANT OF ARREST”.
Niehaus said he was expecting a large turnout of Zuma supporters at the airport.
Another Zuma supporter, former Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen said he had not been informed about Zuma’s welcoming event.
He said Zuma was far above de Klerk with “colourful struggle credentials”.
“Zuma’s struggle credentials are clear and well-known as he served our call with dignity, which is why we will forever be rallying behind him,” said van Rooyen.