The SAPS has started increasing its visibility around the Nkandla area after receiving flak for their lack of visibility when supporters of former president Jacob Zuma flexed their muscles and flouted Covid-19 regulations while convening in support outside his residence.
On Friday morning, armed SAPS officers staged a roadblock at the off-ramp leading to Eshowe from Nkandla town, just a few kilometres away from Zuma’s home. There were three kombis, one double-cab van and 15 SAPS officers on the scene. At the roadblock, all passing cars, mainly those taking the road leading to Zuma’s home, were stopped, checked, drivers and vehicles details registered by an uncompromising officer.
When asked the officers what the roadblock was all about, one of them said: “we are getting closer to the date”, but did not clarify which date. It could be safely assumed that the date is Sunday, when Zuma has to surrender himself to the SAPS or face being frogmarched to prison.
Shortly after Zuma’s supporters threatened to defend him, SAPS dismissed the threats by supporters of the former head of state to shield him from arrest – even at the expense of their lives, as meaningless.
The national police spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo said that when the time came, they would do what they had to do, as empowered by the law. Naidoo’s comment comes as the tension between Zuma supporters and the authorities took an unexpected twist.
“Look, I am not going to comment on this. Zuma has until Sunday to hand himself in, so let the people say whatever they want to say. After Sunday, if he does not hand himself in, there are five days for the minister of police and the commissioner of police to decide to hand him to a correctional facility. From then we will start commenting, not now,” said Naidoo.
The steady increase in police presence in Nkandla comes while the nation continues to wonder what Zuma’s next move will be. But his foundation on Friday morning said: “President Zuma will definitely address the nation this weekend.”
Activities around Nkandla and Zuma’s home are expected to pick up pace – Carl Niehaus, spokesperson of the MKMVA, which has a battalion guarding Zuma’s home, said the former president will address the media outside the home at 4pm.
For now, it is not known what the address will be about as Edward Zuma, the most vocal son of the former president, when asked about the address, said all questions should be referred to Niehaus.
Meanwhile, a news website reported acting Chief Justice, Sisi Khampepe has signed a warrant of committal for Zuma, who will be remanded to the Westville correctional centre in KwaZulu-Natal. Zuma is also allegedly expected to file an urgent application for the recession of the Constitutional Court ruling that he be imprisoned for 15 months for contempt.