Kebby Maphatsoe, the president of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), an affiliate of the ANC, has warned Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Raymond Zondo of a “high risk of civil unrest” should former president Jacob Zuma be taken into custody.© Provided by The South African
The association’s spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, released a statement earlier saying that filing legal charges against Zuma was “unwise, ill-advised, and perilous,” making clear that it would not allow Zuma to be arrested.
Speaking to EWN, Maphatsoe distanced the association from Niehaus’ statement though, calling it a “mistake,” but added that the MKVMA remained concerned about the Zondo Commission going after Zuma.
“If it ends up with the arrest of President Jacob Zuma, obviously as MKMVA we’ll be very disappointed and we’ll not allow that to happen. Secondly, there is a high risk of civil unrest if comrade Jacob Zuma is arrested because of the Zondo Commission.”
Niehaus’ statement said the association and many other South Africans would not take kindly to Zuma being arrested.
It also alleges that Zondo was being influenced by “powerful foreign-funded [local] NGOs, the media and reactionary forces.”
Deputy Chief Justice Zondo directed the Commission’s secretariat to lay a criminal complaint against the former president following Zuma’s decision to leave the state capture inquiry without Zondo’s permission, despite a binding summons against him still being in force.
The Commission is also seeking a Constitutional Court order to compel Zuma to appear.
“It must be clearly understood that MKMVA, and a large part of the population of South Africa, will not take kindly to him [Zuma] being arrested,” the Niehaus statement added.
“If the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture persists with a warrant of arrest – and a subsequent arrest – a situation will be created that neither the commission nor anyone else will be able to control.”
The MKMVA also spoke out against a push within the ANC for corruption-accused leaders to “step aside” from their positions, arguing that all suspects must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The ANC has sought legal opinion on the matter. Advocate Gcina Malindi has reportedly advised the party’s top 6 that forcing accused leaders to step aside may be prejudicial.
“For the sake of unity in the ANC, we make an earnest appeal on all members of the NEC not to try force this deeply divisive issue any further, and to allow themselves to be led by the legal counsel that they have received.”