Durban - Supporters of former President Jacob Zuma are holding their breath regarding the in-person attendance of the former head of state of a welcome home rally taking place in Durban on Thursday.
Zuma was on September 5 this year, two months into his 15 months sentence for contempt of the Constitutional court, granted medical parole to serve the remainder of his sentence at home.
His parole, which was sanctioned by former correctional services boss, Arthur Fraser, is now being challenged in court by the likes of the DA, Afriforum and the Helen Suzman Foundation.
They all want the decision by Fraser to be set aside as they claim he overstepped the mark and abused powers to grant parole.
After the granting of parole, Zuma supporters started preparing for a welcome home rally.
Among those expected to attend today’s rally are senior members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) such as Carl Niehaus, RET Forces members like Nkosentsha Shezi and KwaZulu-Natal Interfaith Council members like Bishop Vusi Dube of the eThekwini community church.
However, Zuma’s attendance at the gathering is not yet assured after an insider in Nkandla said his medical doctors from the military health services advised him to stay at home and nurse his ill health.
“He may not come as he has been advised to stay at home until he feels much better.
“I think he's likely to heed that advice and not go to address the supporters in Durban,” said a source close to Zuma.
Zuma has not made any public appearance since he was released from a military hospital in Pretoria a few weeks back.
The only known public statement was the one he issued via video early last week and called on people to forget about their anger and vote for the ANC in the upcoming local government elections.
Dube who is one of the organisers of the rally, said they were hopeful that Zuma would still come to Durban and take part in the rally, adding that the rally would be held in compliance with Covid-19 regulations.
“Possibly, he will come.
“We are expecting 2000 people and that will be in accordance with Covid-19 regulations,” Dube told Independent Media on Wednesday.
The spokesperson of the department of correctional services, Singabakho Nxumalo, said Zuma’s parole was not clear on addressing or attending political gatherings.
“The medical parole placement conditions (September 5) of the former state President, Zuma is silent on attending or addressing gatherings.
“However, he has to be monitored by our Community Corrections Office.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to divulge parole conditions as they are between the parolee and the Department of Correctional Services,” Nxumalo said.
Regarding Zuma’s attendance, Niehaus, who is one of the organisers of the rally, referred all questions to Mzwanele Manyi, the spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma foundation which has also been at the forefront in organising the rally.
Manyi did not respond when asked whether Zuma will attend the rally or not.
As the rally is expected to attract Zuma supporters mainly from KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, one of the people who was spotted at the venue for the rally was Fistos Mafela, a proponent of RET and a Zuma supporter who is an ANC councillor at Musina municipality in Limpopo. Also spotted at the venue was Zuma's daughter, Duduzile, the twin sister of Duduzane.