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ANC will not punish Zuma supporters for using party colours in court

After almost a decade of legal wrangling, for the first time on Friday the country heard the former president being referred to as accused no 1.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma in the dock at the Durban High Court on 6 April 2018. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Pool Photo.

JOHANNESBURG/DURBAN - The African National Congress (ANC) has decided not to act against those members who supported former President Jacob Zuma in court on Friday in the ruling party’s colours, despite an earlier NEC decision that members only do so in their personal capacity.

Over a thousand of ANC members marched outside the Durban High court clad in party regalia.

On Friday, Zuma sat in the dock to face his 16 charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering related to the arms deal.

The matter has been postponed until early June.

The ANC previously said is members must not use ANC colours should they choose to show support to the former president as he faces corruption charges.

Now that ANC members have defied that instruction, the party now says it was merely a suggestion.

Spokesperson Pule Mabe said: “It was a preference… we’d preferred that if things were to go this way.”

Zuma seemed unhappy about the ANC’s decision to seemingly distance itself from him, saying he doesn’t understand why he was being treated like he was a criminal.

Many ANC members who supported Zuma on Friday have vowed to be back in June when the former president appears in court again.

WILL JACOB ZUMA STAND TRIAL FOR CORRUPTION?

The question of when Zuma will stand trial now looms large after making his first appearance at the Durban High Court.

After almost a decade of legal wrangling, for the first time on Friday the country heard Zuma being referred to as accused no 1.

As he entered the courtroom his supporters chanted “Zuma” and “Msholozi”, but the trial might not begin, just yet.

Zuma’s lawyers want the decision to prosecute to be taken on review, which could see the suggested trial date of 12 November being pushed back.

On the political front, opposition parties are likely to continue their push to undo the agreement related to the state of footing the bill of the former president’s legal fees.