Yesterday, as large crowds of Zuma supporters gathered and rallied outside Nkandla in support of the former president, South Africans were left wondering why citizens have been arrested for such things as jogging together, and why business should be destroyed, while flagrant disregard for the law seems to be tolerated.
Hordes of people gathered together with no social distancing whatsoever. According to News24, Police Minister Bheki Cele stated that around 100 supporters arrived armed, and that the police exercised restraint in order to prevent bloodshed. Shots were fired into the air by those supporters. Some supporters attacked journalists and became violent, accusing the journalists of being “sell-outs”. Zuma’s followers have been vocal about physically protecting him at all costs.
DA Leader John Steenhuisen made the following statement during the rally
The scenes currently unfolding outside Jacob Zuma’s homestead at Nkandla, which have broken almost every lockdown level 4 regulation gazetted, are fast morphing into a dangerous and volatile Covid-19 super spreader event threatening the lives of countless South Africans.
President Cyril Ramaphosa must urgently intervene in the chaotic gathering of Zuma supporters in KwaZulu-Natal which shows a flagrant disregard for the dangers of this pandemic on the lives of South African citizens, and contempt for the rule of law.
It is unthinkable that while the liquor industry, small business, and restaurants have had to endure devastating losses to adhere to these restrictions, members of the ANC and Jacob Zuma’s RET faction can seemingly break them without consequence. The President’s silence on this matter only reinforces what many South Africans have come to believe: that nobody is above the law, except those connected to the ANC’s elite.
There are hardworking men and women in our country who have sacrificed their only form of income under stringent lockdown regulation to pay the price for South Africa’s ill-equipped health system, and the President’s failed vaccination programme. Airlines have grounded planes, provincial borders are shut, and citizens are losing jobs by the millions. Why should ordinary South Africans and their families pay the ultimate price while ANC and Zuma supporters continue to act with impunity?
Lockdown regulations at any level must either be enforced with consistency, or be scrapped altogether. There is no reason why restaurants cannot host a sit-down dinner service, or bars cannot safely serve patrons if thousands of Zuma supporters can gather on a whim without consequence.
If President Ramaphosa wants the nation to believe that he has placed the country above his party, he must ensure that Jacob Zuma and his supporters are held to the same standards as any other South African. If not, he will forever be remembered as the President who arrested surfers and joggers while letting his compatriots off scot-free. Jacob Zuma is an ordinary citizen. It is high time he is treated as one.