NEWS
05/04/2018 09:56 SAST | Updated 05/04/2018 09:57 SAST

Preview: What To Expect Before Zuma's Big Court Appearance

Various groups in support of the former president will be hosting demonstrations across Durban ahead of Zuma's appearance in the city's High Court.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Jacob Zuma.

There is currently calm before an expected political storm in Durban, where Jacob Zuma will on Friday appear in the city's High Court on 16 charges including fraud and corruption.

It's business as usual in the city for now, but planned demonstrations are scheduled later on Thursday evening.

In a joint statement by the National Interfaith Council of South Africa and the Commission for Religious Affairs (CRA), the religious organisations said they would conduct a night vigil at Albert Park from 6pm. They will thereafter lead a march from Dinizulu Park to the Durban High Court on Friday morning.

There, they plan to hold the "mother of all prayers" before court proceedings start.

"It is not surprising that former president Zuma has already been found guilty through the court of public opinion. As NICSA and CRA, we strongly believe that the rights of the accused must be fully observed. At the same time, we want to reiterate the principle of presumption of innocence until proven otherwise," the groups said in the statement.

"We have received information that there are elements that have already been mobilised to join the activities to cause chaos. This is aimed at creating a wrong perception in the eyes of the public – that former president Zuma's supporters are anarchists."

Another new group, called the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Defenders, has also scheduled a demonstration and night vigil in Albert Park at the same time.

Group organiser Hlanganani Dlomo told HuffPost that the demonstration will continue throughout the night, and the group will proceed to the court on Friday morning.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele told News24 that police would be deployed to monitor the night vigil on Thursday and the march to the court on Friday.

"There will be a maximum deployment of police to make sure that there's no disorder during the vigil and march," she said.