The staunch supporter of former president Jacob Zuma, Charl Niehaus is due back at the Estcourt Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2021.
This after he made a brief appearance on Wednesday following his arrest on 8 July 2021 for allegedly being in contravention of level 4 lockdown regulations.
Niehaus was arrested outside the Estcourt prison where Zuma is serving a 15 month sentence for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court.
Niehaus was arrested while conducting a live media interview and was later released on R2000 bail.
Zuma’s supporters, including Niehaus, had gathered outside the prison to call for the former president’s release following his arrest the previous night.
On Wednesday, Niehaus told the media that he had not broken Covid-19 regulations because he had been conducting a one on one media interview at the time of his arrest.
Niehaus said the trumped up charges brought against him are meant to make people fearful of exercising their right to freedom of speech, adding that he will not plead guilty to the charges and is ready to fight the matter in court.
Niehaus further said he will continue to express his concern over the continued political imprisonment of Zuma, adding that, he will, however, endeavour to abide by Covid-19 regulations.
“I did not break Covid-19 regulations in that particular interview I did with yourselves,” Niehaus said during a media interview outside court on Wednesday.
Niehaus said it was unacceptable that he was arrested for contravening Covid-19 regulations while African National Congress (ANC) politicians, including state and governing party president Cyril Ramaphosa, Police Minister Bheki Cele and Zizi Kodwa, had gathered crowds at different venues days after his arrest.
Niehaus said he was of the view that Zuma and himself are being targeted, adding that the ANC cannot repress the voices of its members who champion the party’ revolutionary policies.
Niehaus said it was concerning that he learned through the media that the ANC intends to bring disciplinary charges against him and senior party leader Tony Yengeni, adding that he is prepared to fight against those charges.
Niehaus vowed that he will not be driven out of the party he loves by people that want to make it “the hand maiden of white monopoly capital”.
Nkosenhle Shezi, commonly known as the chairperson of Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces, earlier addressed a crowd outside court that had gathered in support of Niehaus.
Mocking the president, Shezi said as the son of a domestic worker who earned a meagre wage he is grateful that Ramaphosa has deployed “body guards” for his protection .
He, however, said that the “body guards” or armed police that he alleged have been tasked with keeping tabs on him and other RET leaders should rather be deployed across the country to deal with crime, chanting, “down with a military state”
Shezi heaped praise on Zuma and said his imprisonment was unjust.
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) national prosecuting authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara said the matter was postponed to 22 to 26 November 2021 for trial.
“On the previous occasion, Niehaus was given the option to pay an admission of guilt fine of R3000. He has not paid the fine so the matter was thus enrolled,” Kara said.