Former President, and on medical parole, Jacob Zuma cuts the ribbon, officially opening the Zuma restaurant in Durban.
PHOTO: Twitter/@Dudu Zuma-Sambudla
- Former President Jacob Zuma and Schabir Shaik, both on medical parole, were among the VIP guests dancing at a restaurant opening in Durban on Friday.
- Coincidentally, the restaurant is called Zuma.
- Owner David Manal said he invited the former president to cut the ribbon as he and his family have been “regular and trusted customers” of their establishments.
Days after the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) found his medical probation illegal, former President Jacob Zuma looked unfazed as he danced and dined at a new Umhlanga restaurant bearing his name.
No stranger to ceremonial ribbon-cutting, the paroled doctor was well enough to show off his dance moves at Zuma’s grand opening, after accepting an invite from celebrity chef David Manal.
Also on the guest list was Schabir Shaik, in costume, smiling and dancing alongside the former president, 13 years after he was granted medical parole because he had a “terminal illness.”
A seemingly cheerful Shaik danced alongside Zuma, who was ruled by the SCA last week to have been illegally granted medical parole by former prison chief Arthur Fraser, who overturned the Medical Parole Advisory Board’s recommendation that the former president did not qualify for she.
Zuma was arrested in July of last year for contempt of the Constitutional Court and sentenced to 15 months in jail. He was released less than two months later.
She smiled and posed for photos with Shaik, her former financial adviser, who was released on medical parole in 2009 after serving just over two years of a 15-year sentence.
He was found guilty of two counts of corruption and one of fraud related to facilitating a bribe, allegedly by the French arms company Thint, to Zuma.
Manal, who calls himself the “kitchen gangster”, said the former president was not involved in his restaurant and had invited him, their wives and children because they were “regular and respectable customers” of his.
“It was an honor to have someone like that to do the inauguration with me, instead of a celebrity,” he added, acknowledging that he wanted to “get people’s attention” to his establishment.
READ | How Zuma went from not sick, hospitalized for a routine checkup, to medical parole
The elegant restaurant is not named after Zuma. It is the name of an international restaurant brand that Manal said he had the exclusive brand in South Africa.
He added, laughing:
Something positive that can come out of that name. Zuma in Arabic actually means peace, which is the opposite of what people think of. [Jacob] zuma.
The inauguration was exclusive to VIPs who enjoyed the “fun” of having a front row seat as the former president showed off his signature moves and had some fun.
“[The Zuma family] he loves to eat my food. You feel safer being in a place where you will not be judged. He was sitting, taking photos with people, people were having fun, laughing with him, dancing.”
Manal, who is originally from Palestine, said he was not interested in the politics surrounding his special guest.
“Everyone has something good in them. I can’t judge anyone based on the news. People can say what they want to say. I’m not a South African. I can’t even vote for one person here,” he added.
What if I could?
Manal dodged the question.
“You know, oddly enough, we never had [such severe] loss of power when Zuma was [president]. Although they think that he was a thief and he was stealing, maybe he was stealing, but at least we had electricity”.