Former South African President Jacob Zuma surrounded and desperate to escape justice

Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma, sentenced to fifteen months in prison by the Constitutional Court, sing and dance outside his home in Nkandla, South Africa, July 2, 2021. ROGAN WARD / REUTERS

Tuesday, July 6, the day he should have been arrested to serve fifteen months in prison, due to a conviction pronounced on June 29 by the Constitutional Court against him and enforceable between Monday and Wednesday, the former South President African Jacob Zuma will undoubtedly be in front of a screen, from a distance, but will take care to maintain the spectacle in front of the court of justice of Pietermaritzburg (south of the country, province of Kwazulu-Natal). There, a last-minute action taken by his team of lawyers will try to obtain a stay, with the suspension of the current judicial process, perhaps a prelude to its reconsideration, which would then be studied again on July 12.

This hearing, in theory, should be tiny in scope. But considering the fact that Jacob Zuma is being pushed to his limits, and that he has organized a climate of hysteria about his eventual arrest, he will play it as a matter of life and death. If his maneuver is successful, he may escape arrest at the last minute. If he fails, he seems ready for anything, including pushing his supporters to violence, as he has been doing for several days.

Read also In South Africa, Jacob Zuma calls for his contempt conviction to be quashed

State capture

To get to Pietermaritzburg, the former president would not have a long way to go. He is already in Kwazulu-Natal, his province of origin bordering the Indian Ocean, from which he has been running, for several days, a permanent theater around his announced incarceration. With him, there is every chance that some of his supporters who were, since the weekend in Nkandla, his private residence, an area facing a grandiose landscape, symbolic especially because of the scandals attached to his extension. Extravagant work, at the expense of the State, had been carried out there when, as president (2009-2018), he had been the main actor in a series of qualified embezzlements, given their scale and their organization. , state capture. Nkandla was basically just a detail at 20 million euros of work more or less completed in the context of the massive burglary of public coffers (about 30 billion euros), whose outlines have become clearer, for three years, as part of a commission of inquiry headed by Judge Raymond Zondo.

In November 2020, Jacob Zuma, summoned to testify in turn, fled in the middle of his hearing without being authorized. He then ignored the other summons and then, pursuing his “Stalingrad tactics” (systematically attacking the entire judicial process, daring all legal quibbles, not stopping before any trial of intent, posing as a victim), he attacked the person of Judge Zondo, asking him to recuse himself.

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