Ramaphosa in a ‘tight spot’ as Zuma judgment threatens instability in SA

Political analyst Ongama Mtimka said President Cyril Ramaphosa was in a tight spot as any move he would make on the political front would be carefully analysed.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters in front of his rural home in Nkandla on July 4, 2020 for the first time since he was given a 15-months sentence for contempt of court. Picture: Emmanuel Croset / AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Political and legal experts said South Africa was now locked in a tug of war between what would happen with former President Jacob Zuma this week and how government could restore order without triggering violence.

Speaking from his Nkandla home on Sunday night, Zuma announced he would not be going to jail for 15 months, comparing the Constitutional Court ruling to sentencing him to death based on his age and the outbreak of COVID-19.

He made this assertion even though he declined to cover his face while gathering with mask-less supporters.

Thousands of Zuma supporters gathered at his home at the weekend in defiance of lockdown regulations. However, no arrests have yet been made.

Political analyst Ongama Mtimka believes it is not sustainable for Zuma’s supporters to keep him out of jail, guarding his Nkandla home around the clock.

However, he said President Cyril Ramaphosa was also in a tight spot as any move he would make on the political front would be carefully analysed.

“President Zuma and his supporters have got nothing to lose, the state has everything to lose. They know that whatever they’re doing out there is not sustainable, they cannot sustain that for a month or two in the same threatening way.”

Criminology expert Guy Lamb said the police should have acted and arrested Zuma’s supporters.

“The police should’ve done more; the carrying of firearms and dangerous weapons… more preventative measures should’ve been put in place there.”

While the public is fuming about the absence of law enforcement at the Nkandla super spreader, police insist they were investigating the mass gatherings.

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