Speculation has been rife regarding former president Jacob Zuma’s whereabouts, with numerous images of the elder statesman circulating on social media.
This was fueled by Parliament’s blunder on Wednesday morning when its media team said that Zuma will be attending the state of the nation address on Thursday.
The Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Zuma supporter’s group, however, poured cold water on that notion saying that the former president was not even in the country.
Through the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, the orgnisation said that Zuma was still in Cuba receiving medical treatment.
Addressing the supporters group who had gathered at the Booysens Hotel in Johannesburg, Niehaus said Zuma has been out of the country for the past two weeks.
“Jacob Zuma is not yet back in South Africa and we have contacted his legal team to try and verify whether the statements sent out by Parliament was accurate,” Niehaus said.
He then accused Parliament of disseminating “fake news”.
“As far as we are aware, the former president will not be attending,” said Niehaus.
Parliament this afternoon retracted its earlier statement and indicated that Zuma would not be attending the state of the nation address.
Niehaus, himself, has been caught out in a lie on numerous occasions with the most famous being when he devised a “scheme” and told a businessman whom he owed money to that his mother had died and that he would inherit millions.
Niehaus apparently owed R4.3 million for two units in Sandton.
It was later proven that his 88-year-old mother was still alive and living in a retirement home.
The unrelenting Niehaus said that the RET support group would be mobilising to welcome Zuma when he returned from Cuba.
Niehaus also indicated that the group would be marching to the ANC’s Luthuli House on March 4, then to the NPA head office on March 5 before going to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on March 6 when Zuma’s arms deal case is set to start.
Niehaus, who was accompanied by Congress of South African Students (Cosas) secretary-general Teboho Magafane and Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama, also accused the judiciary of being biased against Zuma.
He accused High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay, who issued a warrant of arrest for Zuma last week, of committing a “travesty of justice”.
“When FW De Klerk had a health scare in 2013, and had to undergo an operation for a pacemaker to be implanted, the then national spokesperson of the ANC, Jackson Mthembu, sent him a warm public message of support. Now that Zuma is ill, he is vilified and Pule Mabe, the current national spokesperson issues a hateful statement saying: ‘If it is true that former president Jacob Zuma is ill...’. Suddenly in the case of Zuma the onus to prove that he is ill is placed on him,” said Niehaus.
He went on to critique the ANC and its treatment of Zuma saying that “tomorrow, the white apartheid criminal, De Klerk, will walk the red carpet at Parliament and be given VVIP treatment at the state of the nation address while a black liberation hero, in the person of Zuma, is humiliated, vilified and issued with a warrant of arrest”.
Niehaus ended his hour-long monologue with:
“Justice for Zuma, and for all of us, cannot be postponed any longer.”