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Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday vowed to render the country ungovernable if he is jailed.
In a show of force, loyalists clad in their African National Congress (ANC) regalia have been outside their embattled leader’s Nkandla homestead in Kwa-Zulu Natal province for weeks.
Vowing to protect Zuma, the protesters called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down.
“We are here to say Ramaphosa must step down. Must step down”, a visibly angry loyalist said. “As from Monday, we will make the country ungovernable.”
Police, under orders to arrest Zuma if necessary, were stationed across the province on Sunday to control the crowds descending on Nkandla.
If Zuma fails to turn himself in, police will be given a further three days to arrest him.
Meanwhile, the former president who has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after he repeatedly refused to give evidence to corruption investigators, told hundreds of supporters camped outside his home that his rights had been violated.
“My constitutional rights were abused” by judges of the country’s constitutional court”, said Zuma.
“No need for me to go to jail today,” he told journalists at his Nkandla homestead, adding “when I saw the police here I wondered how will they get to me, how will they get through all these people”.
“If (Police Minister) Bheki Cele comes here to arrest uBaba (Zuma) he must start with us,” a supporter, Lindokuhle Maphalala, told AFP.