Durban's police will be out in full force ahead of former president Jacob Zuma's court appearance today. He is expected to appear in court on fraud, corruption and money-laundering charges. Police are expecting between 2,000 and 5,000 people to gather at the King Dinizulu Park in Durban before marching to the high court, The Witness reported.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele told The Witness: "I can confirm there will be maximum police deployment on the day. There will be a designated area for the crowd outside court and no one will be allowed near the court."
Zuma's supporters gathered on Thursday night under the ANC's banner to hold a vigil in his honour. This is despite a directive from the ANC that those who wish to support people accused of corruption should do so in their personal capacity, and not don ANC regalia when doing so.
According to News24, supporters gathered at Albert Park near the Durban high court on Thursday night carrying ANC flags and wearing party regalia.
One party member, Samke Mgwaba, told News24 that she wanted to show Zuma that there were party members who supported him.
"We do follow ANC directives but for now we feel that there's a witch-hunt against him and that's why we chose to wear the ANC gear," she said, adding that they were brought in from Eshowe to Durban by bus. The charges against him were dropped before; why are they reinstated after such a long time and when he is no longer a president?" she reportedly said.
Among those defying the ANC was Zuma's son, Edward. In a statement ahead of the vigil, Edward Zuma said he would be attending the court appearance on Friday wearing his ANC shirt.
According to TimesLive, he said: "As a member of the ANC myself, I shall be attending court in my own ANC shirt... the Zuma family, we did not mobilise any support nor are we in the business of such. It is people of South Africa who correctly believe that they need to support the former president Jacob Zuma as it's clear that the witch-hunt against JZ is being intensified from all corners and levels."
Controversial ANC member Carl Niehaus, who was at the front of the campaign for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become ANC president, was also in attendance on Thursday night, Eyewitness News reported.
He told a reporter, "It's [the night vigil] part of what various non-governmental and non-profit organisations and churches thought was necessary and, of course, it's part of the mobilisation process for tomorrow."
About 200 buses are reportedly expected to ferry supporters to court on Friday.