Nkandla community members and MKMVA members march outside Jacob Zuma’s home.

Military veterans must uphold the Constitution, according to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.The MKMVA said it would protect former president Jacob Zuma from being arrested after he defied the Constitutional Court.Mapisa-Nqakula was responding during the SONA debate.Military veterans have to always uphold the South African Constitution, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said in Parliament on Wednesday.

This comes after the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) vowed to protect corruption-accused former president Jacob Zuma from arrest.

On Monday, after Zuma defied the Constitutional Court, through his failure to appear before the Zondo Commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said he would approach the apex court for an order that Zuma was in contempt of court.

Should Zuma be found guilty, the court should impose a prison sentence, Zondo said.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Mapisa-Nqakula spoke during Wednesday’s debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

After she finished her prepared speech, she added: “Whatever challenges we may be having as military veterans – and I’m saying this as a military veteran myself – but military veterans should never find themselves where they are used to sow divisions of a counter-revolution in a country.

“Military veterans should strive to ensure that there [is] peace and stability in a country, alongside members of the defence force.

“Military veterans should forever uphold the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” she said.

On Monday, MKMVA members, wearing their camouflage fatigues, were outside Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla, with the apparent support of some community members and the Zuma family.

Carl Niehaus outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in support of ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.

Earlier, in a statement, MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus said: “Our message to them is crystal clear: before you continue your insidious factional political project of attacking President Zuma, and try to arrest him, you will first have to face us. We, as MKMVA, will not allow you to further harass, humiliate and even arrest one of the most illustrious commanders of MK! Enough is enough!”

The debate concluded on Wednesday, with Ramaphosa due to respond on Thursday.