Despite accusing the ANC’s top six leaders earlier this year of failing to protect him with his troubles with the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, former president Jacob Zuma has called on voters to cast their ballots for the ANC in the local government elections.
The former president, who was released on medical parole last month due to an undisclosed illness, on Tuesday, said he was concerned about the number of people who had expressed a lack of interest in the 1 November polls.
Zuma said he decided to send out a message to South Africans to encourage them to exercise their hard-won democratic right to vote in the elections.
“The time has come to vote in the local government elections. It’s been a while I’ve been listening to a lot of people saying, because of certain reasons, they’ve taken the decision not to vote in the elections.
“This concerned me a lot and I decided to make my views known by asking those who are saying they won’t vote, that we should all vote, especially for the organisation that has brought freedom to South Africa, the ANC,” Zuma said, speaking in isiZulu in an 87 second video posted by his foundation on Twitter.
Although he might be unsatisfied about a number of things, Zuma said he would cast his ballot for the ANC during the elections.
He also warned that if South Africans don’t take part in the elections, they will end up not having a say in the running of their local municipalities.
“It is important that we do this. Perhaps with me, there is a lot that I don’t like, but I will still vote,” Zuma said.
“If we don’t vote, we will end up not having a voice in government and the power to change the lives of people. I say think properly about this and vote. Let’s go and vote.”
Although it was unclear when the video was taken, this was the first time South Africans got a glimpse of Zuma after he was released on medical parole just two months into a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court for openly defying orders from the Constitutional Court to appear before the state capture commission.
Zuma’s parole is the subject of legal reviews by several organisations and was authorised by the former national commissioner of correctional services, Arthur Fraser, who overrode the Medical Parole Advisory Board’s refusal to release the former president from jail.
Zuma’s meeting with ANC top six
In a meeting with the ANC’s top six leaders in March, Zuma accused the party’s officials of failing to protect him amid pressure from several quarters for him to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s commission.
This was revealed in leaked audio recordings and in a 23-page letter sent to suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, he accused the ANC national officials leaving him out to dry with no support, while also addressing the corruption allegations levelled against him over the years, his rape trial and the Nkandla upgrades saga, among others.
In a leaked recording, Ramaphosa said he regretted that his predecessor viewed him as a deceitful and untrustworthy person.
“In your mind, it’s possible that you would say, ‘no, Cyril Ramaphosa has always been against me and he wanted me to go to jail. He wants no support for me for my legal cases and so on.’ That’s possibly your view but I’d like to say – and I don’t even want to say you should believe me – that has never been my orientation,” Ramaphosa could be heard saying in the clip.
Watch Zuma’s message to voters below: