'A day of shame for our nation': Bathabile Dlamini's full statement on the Zuma arrest warrant

African National Congress Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini addressing the media at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

African National Congress Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini addressing the media at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 6, 2020


A warrant of arrest issued against former President Cde Jacob Zuma has come as a shock to us as South Africans. Reports state that Judge Dhaya Pillay rejected the sick note from Military 1 Hospital, stating that she issues the warrant of arrest against President Zuma, pending a stay, till his next appearance.

This warrant must be seen for what it is, a tool of intimidation, and continued assault on President Zuma, even in his retirement.

One would be quick to remember that the same judge who issued this highly questionable warrant is the same judge who presided over the negative judgement about a tweet in the Hanekom vs. Zuma matter. This litany of negative and vindictive judgments against Zuma points to nothing but a personal vendetta against the former president.

Daily, we witness the judiciary butcher the rights of President Zuma at the altar of political convenience. They do this as a mini-cabal of family and friends of politicians who have an axe to grind against Cde President Zuma.

By their nature and nature of work, judges are supposed to be above reproach. When the judiciary takes questionable decisions, it is the justice system that suffers. Our young democracy has to guard the gains of democracy, by ensuring that the integrity of the state institutions and arms of the state remains intact.

The warrant of arrest against Cde President Zuma really flies in the face of fairness and justice. It is a travesty to justice.

The warrant of arrest against President Zuma is nothing but a symptom of how blacks and black African lives are disregarded, and treated with disdain.

All the personal dignity, rights, and humanity are ripped off the hands of President Zuma, who is now a pensioner. What makes the warrant of arrest more painful is the fact that the rejected sick-note comes from a state institution, and its authenticity would have been effortless to verify.

Red carpets, VIP treatments, and courteous treatments are given to apartheid murderers such as De Klerk. But President Zuma’s illness is trivialised, and turned into a joke!

Instead of having sympathy and respecting, or protecting his constitutional rights, there are sectors of society that want to destroy Zuma at all cost. There are those who want to turn Cde Zuma's head into a trophy to feed their narratives – whilst we have apartheid murderers addressing conferences, and turned into paragons of morality.

Cde President Zuma is a struggle hero who together with many other comrades sacrificed all his life for the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. He is a senior citizen, a former head of state who was supposed to be allowed to enjoy his own state pension and quiet family life.

But the evil white establishment will not rest! They need a scapegoat to use to rewrite the history and defocus the nation from our real problems. Zuma is that convenient scapegoat!

The venom, vindictiveness, viciousness, and hatred demonstrated against President Zuma is worrisome, and points to an invisible hand that would really want to see him dead, or his legacy and personal image destroyed.

Someone at President Zuma’s age can no longer behave the same as a person in the height of their youth. With age, there is a completely different response and reaction to illness, or even the speed to heal. Once someone gets admitted into a hospital or receive medical attention, it becomes a very serious matter.

Does the judge want to believe Msholozi is ill when he is pushed in a stretcher into court?

Cde President Zuma has always availed himself to court without fail. This case has been going on for almost 15 years, and he has never tried to evade justice. We have observed that the same treatment against President Zuma is not meted out to his other co-accused in the same case. The courts are very sweet to them.

The judiciary must not turn itself into a public opinion arena. Its conduct must always be above reproach. This freedom and the independence of the judiciary was achieved through blood, sweat and toil of our forebearers. Our freedom was not free.

Who we are, what we are, and what we stand for must not be put to the test. No one must be allowed to threaten the stability of our constitution, or allowed to reopen the old wounds at this critical time of our country.

Our country, our movement and true leadership must stand up and defend the revolution by not allowing the recklessness and ill manner, which our 13th ANC president is treated.

A people who do not have respect for their own can never be respected by anyone else. We must not invite the lynching, disregard, and disrespect against our own. When they are done with Zuma, tomorrow it would be another comrade.

Lastly, the merits and demerits of this case are a discussion for another day for our eyes are wide open, and we can see what is happening.

* Bathabile Dlamini is the president of the ANC Women's League.