A relative of former president Jacob Zuma says he refused to risk people’s lives ahead of his arrest last year.
In an exclusive interview with SABC News, Sizwe Zuma who was also a member of the Presidential Protection Unit at the time says he had to sneak Major General Nonhlanhla Zulu who convinced Zuma to hand himself over to police in order to avert a stand-off that would lead to a bloodbath.
Major General Nonhlanhla Zulu was tasked with the responsibility of arresting the former President. After being sneaked into his Nkandla homestead, she negotiated with Zuma and persuaded him to go to jail to serve his sentence for contempt of court.
According to Sizwe Zuma, the situation outside was tense and on the verge of turning into a shoot-out. He says the former President was angry at the number of police outside his home saying they can even kill him if they want.
Zuma says for him the saddest moment was seeing the former President hugging all his children and saying goodbye. He says the children were crying but Zuma calmed them down. He adds that Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her children also came to the house to see the former President off.
Sizwe Zuma scoffed at the suggestion that the former President was deliberately delaying his arrest insisting he had to consult with his ancestors and family before he handed himself over.
The former president had initially refused to hand himself over to police but after hours of negotiation, he complied.
Speaking to the media days after Zuma’s arrest General Zulu said they told him that as police they were doing everything in their power to avoid a situation where they would have to take him away against his will. But they did not have another option as the Constitutional Court instructed them to ensure the warrant for his arrest was effected.
Days after Zuma was apprehended an unverified Twitter account under his daughter Duduzile Zuma’s name encouraged people to protest against the former President’s arrest.
Widespread looting and riots ensued in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. More than 350 people were killed in the riots and R50 billion was lost to the economy.
Although several names were thrown around as key instigators of the July 2021 unrest, they haven’t been arrested and Zuma’s children were also fingered as having fanned the violence.
VIDEO: Former member of the Presidential Protection Unit speaks on Zuma’s arrest