Hundreds of Jacob Zuma supporters brave sweltering Durban heat for welcome home rally
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Durban – Despite the sweltering heat in Durban where the temperature on Thursday morning was hovering at 36ºC , supporters of former president Jacob Zuma braved it to stage a welcome home rally.
The rally was staged to celebrate his release from prison on medical parole early last and pray for him to get well as he is battling ill-health.
The supporters came from near and afar as some of those Independent Media spotted came from KwaMashu, north of Durban while others came from afar as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape provinces.
Among the high profile people that came to the rally include Zuma long time backers like Mzwanele Manyi, the spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Bishop Vusi Dube of eThekwini community church and former KwaZulu-Natal MEC fort education, Mthandeni Dlungwane.
Also in the midst was Dr Andile Hlatshwayo, the chairperson of Ubumbano Lokuthula, one of the first groupings that stood when Zuma when he first engaged in legal dwell with the Zondo commission.
Hlatswayo said their stance has not changed as they still stand with the former president, hence his attendance at the rally.
He also said they will heed Zuma’s call to his supporters to back the ANC at the upcoming polls as he is their guide.
Among those whose attendance had been confirmed by the time this report was compiled was KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson, Sihle Zikalala.
The ANC in the province resolved to attend the rally in order to prevent it from being used to sway voters against the ANC ahead of the November 1 local government elections.
That was because some of Zuma supporters have been mobilising others to shun the ANC at the polls, saying the current leadership of the party did not do enough to save Zuma from being sent to jail for 15 months for contempt of the Constitutional Court.
With the sweltering heat, some supporters of Zuma nearly caused a stampede when they tried to push their way into two gigantic marquees mounted in front of the stage, meant for VIP guests.
Marshalls had a tough time try to engage and reason with them.
It was after minutes of negotiations that the situation was managed.
One of the organisers had to go to the stage to plead with the supporters to sit outside and much against clear evidence in front of everybody denied that there was shoving and pushing.
“Comrades, please behave and sit down. Don’t arm those who want to report that there is a stampede.
“There is no stampede,” the unidentified organiser said from the stage.