I am alarmed by reporting appearing in the Independent Media’s Daily News, and sister publication, Pretoria News, erroneously claiming that I stand against the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma.
The article is a disappointing and gross misrepresentation of my views, which are taken outside of their proper context.
Allow me to set the record straight.
In my discussion with Mr Thabo Makwakwa around the recent violence in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) and Gauteng, I highlighted the fact that – his contemptuous conduct aside – Zuma remains a major cultural and political figure for some residents within KZN due to his work in the fight against apartheid. These residents, particularly those in traditional communities, see Zuma’s arrest as an act of submission to the Constitutional Court’s order. In that respect, more needs to be done in ensuring that all residents understand the operation of our country’s Rule of Law and that it applies to all people, irrespective of who they are or their status in society. Without this proper understanding, for some residents, the arrest of Zuma was, and continues to be, perceived as a double standard. This perception, ultimately, led to the initial violent protests witnessed in KZN.
These protests subsequently became the coordinated terrorist attacks we have witnessed over the past two weeks in not only KZN, but also Gauteng.
At no point did I express the opinion that it was wrong to arrest Zuma, nor did I accuse the judiciary of overstepping its boundaries. This claim is without foundation. Equally, my comments regarding Zuma’s sentence have been placed outside of their proper context. It is no secret that, for his supporters, Zuma’s age and the present rise of COVID-19 have served as a basis for their argument in mitigation of his sentence – that was the proper context of my comments. I continue to fully support the Constitutional Court’s imposition of a sentence against Zuma.
Indeed, if anything, since the beginning of these coordinated attacks on residents, and both private and public property, I have consistently called for all South Africans to respect the rule of law despite how deeply angered we may feel about the looting and violence which has taken place in KZN and Gauteng, or its genesis. This includes respecting the ruling of the judiciary. I will equally continue to support our judiciary in this respect.
Ultimately, it remains my contention that in order to bring a proper understanding of the judicial process to all residents, urban and traditionalist alike, we must demystify the law and directly address people’s perceptions around its operation. That includes addressing conspiracy theories around the politicisation of our legal processes.
I have engaged the publication concerned regarding this misreporting and trust that they will do the correct thing by correcting this grave error in order to preserve the integrity of their profession.