ANC expects biggest Zuma court rally yet

2009-02-02 00:00

Tomorrow the Pietermaritzburg city centre is expected to come to a standstill as the ANC has one of its biggest-ever rallies in support of its president, Jacob Zuma.

Zuma is expected to make a brief appearance in the Pietermaritzburg High Court before Judge Leona Theron when a date for his corruption trial will be set.

As has become customary with Zuma’s court appearances, ANC members will hold a rally outside in a show of solidarity.

The rally will be preceded by a night vigil outside the court in Freedom Square . Provincial leaders of the ANC are expected to address members during the vigil.

ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu said the party expects a historic turnout of ANC members outside court tomorrow.

“Arrangements have been made to accommodate over 15 000 people, but indications are that we might have a historic turnout as this is our president’s last court appearance before he becomes the country’s president,” Mchunu told the media in Durban yesterday.

The ANC reiterated its earlier statements that it views Zuma’s prosecution as politically motivated.

The ANC said it has organised 500 marshals to control the crowds and made logistical arrangements with the police.

SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram gave the assurance that security will be the priority outside the court tommorrow.

He said security measures have been put into place to ensure public safety smooth business operations beyond the vicinity of the high court. Roads around the court will be closed, Msunduzi Municipality announced.

The acting manager of Msunduzi Municipality public safety, Kwenza Khumalo, said the municipality is meeting people who will be affected by the closure of roads. “We are meeting taxi operators today to finalise our plans on some roads that will be closed.”

Budhram thanked the public for their behavior in the previous cases involving Zuma. “We appreciate the support and co-operation [of the public] during the previous court hearings and will expect the same again. Pietermaritzburg has undergone this more than once and has managed very well”.

He said nothing different is expected tomorrow and gave the assurance that the SAPS has the expertise to deal with any situation if the need arises.

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