In his first speech after his release, Zuma blasts the judiciary and backs the ANC.
In his first public statement since being released from prison last month, ex-president Jacob Zuma slammed South Africa’s judiciary while urging voters to support the ruling African National Congress in municipal elections.
Zuma, whose whereabouts remain unknown, appeared via video link after tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Durban’s eastern port city for a “welcome homecoming” prayer.
“Today, we are governed by those who have experienced oppression and denial of fundamental human rights,” Zuma, a former apartheid fighter, remarked.
“This state is the one who has imprisoned me without a trial for contempt of court. In our country, something has gone horribly wrong “he exclaimed.
Officially, no one knows where the ex-president is spending his 15-month prison sentence for obstructing a graft investigation into his leadership from 2009 to 2018.
On the grounds of ill health, the 79-year-old was freed in early September.
He retreated to his $17 million (14.7 million euros) estate in remote Nkandla, around 200 kilometers (125 miles) inland, according to hearsay.
Zuma made his first public appearance since his release on Thursday. It was televised on television and played over speakers at the event, which his charity organized.
“It means a lot to me that you have come to support me with prayers,” Zuma said in a rambling hour-long speech.
Zuma, who is usually animated, was dressed casually in a patterned shirt and stated that he was “under extremely tight parole conditions.”
He chastised the judiciary for imprisoning him and slammed the graft probes launched against him.
However, he advised South Africans to vote for the African National Congress (ANC), the party that spearheaded the anti-apartheid movement and which he had commanded.
On November 1, South Africans will go to the polls to elect councillors for over 250 municipalities around the country.
After party infighting and horrifying violence and looting in the aftermath of Zuma’s imprisonment in July, the vote will be a barometer of the ANC’s popularity.
At least 350 people were killed in the riots, which also wreaked havoc on the economy.
“Cracks in society are spreading,” Zuma warned of the riots.
Voting for opposition or independent candidates, he warned, would play into the hands of “our adversaries” and “diminise the ANC.”
Since the country’s democratic transition 27 years ago, the party has dominated.
However, it is striving to reclaim its previous prominence, and it lost votes in the 2019 general elections. It had likewise had a terrible showing in. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.