Zuma allies ask for him to be allowed to bury his brother

Celani Sikhakhane

The National Freedom Party will plead with the Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, to grant former president Jacob Zuma compassionate leave so he can bury his younger brother.

Zuma’s brother, Michael Zuma, passed away last week at Ntunjambili Hospital following a long illness. 

His wife maZulu has now been admitted to Ntunjambili Hospital after she tested positive for Covid-19. 

The funeral of Zuma’s brother will take place on Thursday at his home in Nkandla. 

NFP Secretary General Canaan Mdletshe said that allowing a former president leave would help to demonstrate that the current administration is a compassionate government that is caring, especially for the elderly. 

“Former president Zuma is not a hardened criminal. He’s not a flight risk and therefore should be permitted to go and bury his brother,” said Mdletshe. 

He says that one would do well to look back at recent history. Former president Nelson Mandela detailed in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, how hurt he was when the apartheid government did not grant him leave to go and bury his mother and son.

NFP has been a close ally of Zuma since its inception in 2011, after its leader Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi resigned as the national chairperson of the Inkatha Freedom Party to form her own party. 

“We are told he was hurt, devastated and heartbroken. Understandably so. But it was apartheid government that didn’t care about a black person because black was associated with inferiority,” said Mdletshe. 

Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence at Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt of court.