Carl Niehaus was arrested outside the Estcourt prison, July 8 2021. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
Carl Niehaus was arrested outside the Estcourt prison, July 8 2021. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

Defiant Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus was arrested on Thursday afternoon during a television interview at the Estcourt prison complex where former president Jacob Zuma is serving his jail term.

Niehaus  a staunch Zuma backer  arrived at the Estcourt Correctional Centre shortly before 4pm. He began engaging with Zuma supporters outside the facility.

He was recently suspended from the ANC for ignoring its directive to disband the MKMVA and for his utterances at Zuma’s Nkandla home. He threatened civil war in SA if Zuma was arrested. However, his threats have not come to pass.

After his short speech, Niehaus began speaking to the media. During an interview with the SABC that was being broadcast live, a number of police officers swooped in and whisked Niehaus down the road.

Niehaus was placed in a police van and taken to the Estcourt police station.

According to police information, Niehaus was instigating yet another protest in support of Zuma, in contravention of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The police had earlier in the week opted not to arrest him at a gathering at Nkandla, issuing a warning instead so as to not heighten tensions ahead of Zuma’s arrest.

SAPS spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo confirmed the arrest, saying only that a “prominent person” was being held for breaking lockdown regulations.

“The 61-year-old man is alleged to to have convened a gathering of approximately 100 people outside the Escourt prison at about 4pm this [Thursday] afternoon,” Naidoo said, adding that the Disaster Management Act clearly stipulates such gatherings are not allowed except for funerals.

Under regulations for the adjusted level 4 lockdown, no more than 50 people can attend a funeral.

“The suspect was initially warned about the gathering and was subsequently arrested after ignoring the warning,” he said.

Naidoo said the suspect is likely to face charges in terms of the disaster management regulations. 

On Thursday evening, Niehaus posted on Twitter: “I have been released (around 8pm) from Escourt police station. I have been charged, and must appear in court on 8th of August 2021. My utmost gratitude to all my comrades for your support. From the bottom of his heart, “thank you!.”

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