Cape Town – “A traversty” that “flies in the face of fairness and justice”, “a symptom of how blacks and black African lives are disregarded” and “a tool of intimidation”. These were just some of the words ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini used to describe Judge Dhaya Pillay’s decision to grant a warrant of arrest for former president Jacob Zuma.
The warrant was issued after Zuma failed to appear at the Pietermaritzburg High Court for a pre-trial hearing in his corruption case. French arms manufacturer Thales is the second accused in the matter which relates to the controversial multimillion rand arms deal.
Zuma’s lawyer presented the court with a doctor’s note from One Military Hospital as proof that he was ill, but the judge expressed reservations about the authenticity of the note. Pillay did however rule that the arrest warrant would be held over until Zuma’s next scheduled court appearance in May.
On Wednesday, Dlamini launched a scathing attack on the judiciary, accusing the court of stripping Zuma of his dignity while apartheid-era politicians are given “red carpet” treatment. She also questioned the motives of Judge Pillay, who has previously ruled against Zuma.
“This warrant must be seen for what it is, a tool of intimidation, and continued assault on President Zuma, even in his retirement,” Dlamini said in a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” Dlamini said.
Dlamini said that Zuma could not be expected to have the same powers of recuperation as a younger person.
“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?” she asked.