Organisers of a student demonstration in support of Jacob Zuma ahead of his court appearance say that although everyone is equal before the law, the former president is being treated unfairly.
The group, calling themselves RET (Radical Economic Transformation) Defenders, made up mostly of students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), marched from the DUT Steve Biko campus to Albert Park on Thursday evening.
There they met with faith-based organisations that had rallied together in support of the former president. Zuma's son, Edward, uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) member Carl Niehaus and Black First Land First members were also present.
A small group of Zuma supporters at a night vigil in Durban. Another group, comprising mainly of students, are marching toward the same location. pic.twitter.com/IC86orBX53— Amil Umraw (@Amil_Umraw) April 5, 2018
Speaking to HuffPost, Bonginkosi Phakathi, who led the student march, said the demonstration was called so that Zuma knows he is not alone.
"We have decided to call this thing so that [Zuma] knows he is not alone in this, because this is not about him as a person; it's also about us as ordinary citizens in this country. Because [Zuma], we believe, is a champion of RET. Zuma to us, especially as the student section of society, we believe he is the blesser of the free education that we are enjoying today," Phakathi said.
"Zuma is a leader of the ANC. Zuma is a father of RET, so to us it's not a personality stunt; to us the defence for Zuma... is about our emancipation as ordinary South Africans... Everyone is equal before the law. We are not saying Zuma must not see his day in court. But we believe this is not being done honestly."
Edward Zuma told HuffPost he will "see what happens" when his father appears in court on Friday.
"I'm not nervous because I've always believed, and I still believe, it's a witch-hunt," he said.
He wouldn't say why he thought it was a witch-hunt because, according to him, it would reveal details from the case.
Zuma will appear in court today on 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering relating to 783 alleged payments to him or members of his family during the arms deal saga.
The support groups will march from Albert Park to the high court in Durban this morning in support of the former president.