Alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), say in as much as it is sad to see former President Jacob Zuma going to jail, his sentencing reaffirms the centrality of the Constitution and the rule of law.
Zuma has until Sunday to hand himself over to police for defying the Apex Court’s order to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The court also ordered that if the former president fails to hand himself over, Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, will have to facilitate the arrest.
Zuma is hailed and revered by some as a liberation icon who defied the odds and rose to the highest office in the land, yet others see him as a corrupt politician who enabled State Capture. Billions of rands were allegedly syphoned from state coffers under his watch.
Zuma was jailed and tortured by the Apartheid regime for fighting for a democratic South Africa. Now, he says, he is prepared to go to jail under a democracy if he feels his rights are being violated.
His former allies, Cosatu and the SACP, are now his fiercest critics.
Cosatu General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali says although he’s disappointed that the Zuma matter ended like this, they take solace in the fact that the outcome shows all are equal before the law.
The SACP First Deputy General Secretary, Solly Mapaila, says the court’s decision reaffirms the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law.
While conflicting messages are coming from the Zuma family on whether he will hand himself over – with his daughter saying they will accompany him to his cell and his son saying he would rather die than see his father go to jail, both Cosatu and the SACP have called for calm.
This as some of Zuma’s supporters continue to trickle in at his Nkandla homestead to show solidarity.
SACP’s response to the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Zuma: