NEWS
18/04/2018 06:25 SAST | Updated 18/04/2018 06:25 SAST

Zuma's Nkandla Homecoming Ceremony 'Hijacked By Criminals'

A traditional homecoming ceremony for the former president was reportedly hijacked by people fundraising using the family name.

Former president Jacob Zuma appears at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, South Africa April 6, 2018.
Nic Bothma/Reuters
Former president Jacob Zuma appears at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, South Africa April 6, 2018.

A homecoming ceremony for former President Jacob Zuma Nkandla has been postponed after accusations that it had been hijacked by "criminals". According to TimesLive, Zuma's nephew, Simphiwe Zuma, said the family had learnt that people had been fundraising for the event using Zuma's name.

"It has been postponed‚ but to an unknown date because we still have to meet as a family. There were some things that didn't go well because there were some people who were fundraising for the ceremony using our name and then we realised that there were some criminals who had hijacked the event...We were going to welcome him back home as a soldier of the nation to say thank you to him because even when we left we had spoken to our ancestors to wish him. So we had to do the same thing when he came back‚" Zuma reportedly said.

The event was due to be held at Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead on Saturday, and involved thanking the ancestors for Zuma's return home, TimesLive reported.

This is the third homecoming event that was planned for Zuma. According to The Mercury, the ANC in the province, as well as local leaders, planned events for the former president.

"There were some things that didn't go well because there were some people who were fundraising for the ceremony using our name and then we realised that there were some criminals who had hijacked the event..."

Less than a week after Zuma's dramatic recall in February, the ANC's KwaZulu-Natal task team coordinator, Sihle Zikalala, said the provincial leadership intended organising an event.

"As the province of KwaZulu-Natal, we will be hosting welcome home celebrations for president Zuma to thank him for his 60 years of revolutionary service to the people of the country. We call upon all the people from all sectors of society to join us as we thank this son of the soil. As the ANC, we will be even richer with his wisdom and experience, and we'll always seek his guidance. We are happy with the solid legacy and foundation he has laid," Zikalala reportedly said.

Former ANC ward councillor in Zuma's branch at Nkandla, Sbongiseni Bhengu, reportedly said the community wanted to throw a party to welcome Zuma home "because this time he will be coming home for good".

Zuma's support in his home province remains strong. The Sunday Times recently reported that his allies have been holding secret talks, preparing to possibly break away from the party or galvanise support to have President Cyril Ramaphosa ousted as president.

The report said that Zuma's supporters were mulling the prospect of working with Andile Mngxitama's Black First Land First and the Twelve Apostles Church to form a new political party, to sway votes away from the ANC nationally in 2019.

But Zikalala dismissed the report as a "propaganda campaign" aimed at sowing division in the party, according to IOL.

"Many people would want to launch an offensive against the ANC using propaganda and divisive methods to undermine cohesion in the ANC. It is important for members of the ANC to close ranks and rise to the occasion... and be able to face the opposition and win support of the masses," he reportedly said.