Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2008-08-27 Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

Top KZN Judge Warns on 'Mass Action' for Zuma



Cape Argus



Reporter Wendy Jasson da Costa

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KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Vuka Tshabalala has called on the ANC in the eThekwini region not to intimidate the courts as it tries to have all charges permanently withdrawn against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

At a briefing on Tuesday the party's regional leadership failed to rule out the possibility that court proceedings could be disrupted during its programme of mass action in support of Zuma, which starts on Friday.

"That's not good. They mustn't do that," *1 Tshabalala said.

The ANC-led campaign of "rolling mass action" begins on Friday with marches to 16 police stations and has the backing of the SA Communist Party, Cosatu and the MK Military Veterans' Association.

The next step would then be sit-ins at 11 courts on September 5, according to eThekwini ANC chairperson John Mchunu.

He said the courts should know that their demands were clear even if it meant that they had to "go further".

Zuma supporters would also picket outside the National Prosecuting Authority's regional offices on September 10.

Zuma is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on September 12 when Judge Chris Nicholson will hand down his ruling on Zuma's application to have the National Director of Public Prosecution's decision to prosecute him declared unlawful.

Mchunu said a vigil would be held for Zuma on September 11 and then "massive picketing" on the 12th.

He said: "We must prevent a situation where our courts and judges are politicised by being involved in political fights," Mchunu said.

However, Tshabalala on Tuesday made it clear that the courts "have nothing to do with politics."

He said the court was still busy with the Zuma case and had not yet handed down judgment.

The demonstrations and sit-ins would be "an interference with the judicial process".

He said the judiciary was the third arm of government and should be left to do its work.

Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Jay Naicker said memorandums would be handed over at all the police stations.

"We are aware of the marches. The planning for it has been done. We don't expect any problems."

The ANC has announced that there will be marches at the following police stations on Friday (August 29): Tongaat, Phoenix, Inanda, KwaMashu, Greenwood Park, KwaDabeka, Cato Manor, Umbilo, Chatsworth, Montclair, Hillcrest, Mpumalanga, Umlazi, KwaMakhutha, Amanzimtoti and Mariannhill.

Sit-ins would occur at the following magistrate's courts on September 5: KwaMakhutha, Amanzimtoti, Mariannhill. Pinetown, Umlazi, Verulam, C R Swart, Umbumbulu, Ntuzuma, Chatsworth, Wentworth, Georgedale and Phoenix.

Picketing would occur at the NPA regional offices on September 10 and a night vigil would be held in Pietermaritzburg on September 11.

Picketing would occur at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on September 12.

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* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on August 27, 2008

With acknowledgements to Wendy Jasson da Costa and Cape Argus.

*1       That's not good. They mustn't do that.