OPINION

A torrent of water, a sprinkling of stalwarts

Andrew Donaldson |

13 April 2022

Andrew Donaldson writes on Accused Number One’s latest non-appearance in court

A FAMOUS GROUSE

AN intriguing collective noun has appeared in the latest accounts of Jacob Zuma’s continuing off-and-off-again corruption trial. It is TimesLive reporter Tania Broughton’s description of those of a certain ilk who had turned up at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday in support of Accused Number One: “a sprinkling of stalwarts”.

These redoubtables include Carl Niehaus, the lovelorn Duduzile Ivanka Zuma-Sambudla, Jacob Zuma Foundation chair Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi, RET spokesman Nkosentsha Shezi (a man who insists, with some authority, that he is not a wizard) and uBaba’s “special friend”, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni. 

None of whom, it hardly needs saying, can readily be considered “sprinkly”. 

This, alas, is particularly true of Myeni, who, prior to proceedings before Judge Piet Koen, saw fit to launch herself at hapless photojournalist Sandile Ndlovu, aggressively slapping away at his camera and then “latching herself”, as one account put it, to his backpack of equipment. 

This must have been terrifying, even for a hardened media professional like Ndlovu. Myeni is no lightweight in the latching on department. Readers will recall the arduous years of struggle to prise the national carrier out from under her. To suggest that SAA was a tad broken by the time it had been finally jemmied from her “stewardship” is something of an understatement. Happily, Ndlovu was left relatively unscathed by the fleeting encounter with the delinquent Dudu.

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Ms Broughton’s ironic turn of phrase was of course inspired by the “torrential downpours” that have resulted in the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal. The weather boffins have attributed the unseasonal downfall to a “cut-off low system linked to the surface low-pressure southeast of the country”. 

But, before the biblical deluge, the heavens did however literally rain on the Zuma supporters’ parade, with the result that a threatened mass turnout on Monday had, disappointingly, been reduced to a piss-poor shower instead, with a no-show from the man himself, who was apparently too ill to make an appearance. 

This may or may not explain Myeni’s atavistic behaviour, but it is now patently clear that the implicit threat of violence, bloodletting and anarchy has moved to the fore as a strategy in preventing the Thief-in-Chief from having that day in court his legal team claim he so dearly desires.

Ahead of Monday’s court proceedings, News24 reported that Zuma’s lawyers had urged Judge Koen to be “aware” of last year’s deadly riots that followed their client’s imprisonment for contempt of court when he deliberates on whether or not to postpone Zuma’s corruption trial.