Zuma says he’s come full circle as a ‘political prisoner’
The former president has criticised court processes that were followed and rules that were apparently bent to target him.
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture credit: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Thulani Mbele
Former president Jacob Zuma has penned his first statement since his release from prison on medical parole earlier this month.
In it, the former president criticises the processes that resulted in his imprisonment and highlights the “anomalies” that were clear signs the courts were used to target him.
But Zuma says this is not the end and has vowed to fight for the “liberation of the African child”.
“As with many of our leaders during the struggle, I believe that history will vindicate me when I say that South Africa today is in the process of changing from a constitutional democracy to a constitutional dictatorship. After the judgment of the Constitutional Court on 17 September, I am more than certain of this than ever before. Many of our people are blind to this reality at this point because they have been successfully hypnotised by the long-standing anti-Zuma narrative. It is perhaps convenient or even benefiting for others that the laws of this country be repeatedly bent and manipulated when dealing with Zuma,” said the former president in the statement on Monday.
According to him, the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture was born out of an “anomaly” in that former public protector Thuli Madonsela was supposed to hand over the investigation to her successor as she did with all the other investigations that were not completed when her term of office ended.
“However, given that this was a case that had something to do with Zuma, a different process was followed to set up a commission,” he said.
“For the first time, the presidential prerogative and powers to appoint a commission of inquiry were unilaterally usurped by the public protector and handed to the chief justice. Interestingly, the reason given at the time was that I would not appoint an independent judge, lending credence to the idea that there are some judges who are not independent. This posture by the public protector was not perceived as an attack on the integrity of our judges and was instead accepted as plausible.”
Another “anomaly”, according to the former president, was the direct involvement of the Constitutional Court in his contempt case. He said he had hoped for the apex court to allow the lower courts to deal with the issues of his attendance at the commission as, at that point, there was no constitutional matter that required the direct involvement of the apex court.
“It is a very sad day in our history to observe how those we have entrusted with the constitution now consider themselves above the constitution.”
Zuma said while the opinion that he would not have appointed an independent judge was widely accepted, he has been rebuked for criticising the judiciary.
“I have been rebuked for my public comments about the conduct of certain members of the judiciary and I do not understand why. It is my constitutional right to publicly critique judges the same way they have a right to critique me as a politician. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and for that to be used against me as aggravation in imposing a sentence for civil contempt is another of the many anomalies I remain a victim of in this emerging constitutional dictatorship,” he said.
But this will not deter the former president’s fight for the liberation of the African child. In fact, the former president’s life has come full circle – from being a political prisoner during the apartheid era, to being one in democratic South Africa.
“I have been a prisoner without a trial, in a South Africa that is said to be free and respecting the rights of its citizens, where I never thought this would occur on me or anyone else. I wear the badge of being a political prisoner with the greatest pride as the struggle for the freedom of the African against all forms oppression, including oppression of the African by other collaborator Africans, has been my sole mission in life. I shall fight on. Justice shall prevail. Injustice will be defeated.”
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde