Recently paroled, terminally ill former president Jacob Zuma says he has no choice but to appeal his 15-month “sentence without trial” and preceding Constitutional Court judgment for contempt of court at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and claims South Africa’s constitution is being used to “suppress alternative viewpoints”.
Zuma, who was expected to make his first public appearance at People’s Park in Durban for a prayer session and a welcoming part since being granted medical parole in September, spoke on Thursday via Zoom.
Zuma said: “Something has gone wrong in South Africa. I remain a prisoner under strict parole rules.
“As it is, I have decided to submit an application to an external jurisdiction to adjudicate this matter.
“Today, the Constitution and rule of law appear to be used as a weapons to avenge ones self against political opponents and to suppress alternative viewpoints.
“The rule of law is losing its essential power, to build strong and united nation. It is becoming a source of conflict rather than a mechanism to adjudicate and resolve civil and political conflicts.
“We want to have a law governed society, the current constitution sought to assure every citizen black or white that never again shall people be denied fundamental human rights.”
He said he made a conscious decision to hand himself over in order to prevent the worst that could have happened had he opted otherwise.
“A situation was looming, and indeed to avoid loss of lives of innocent citizens, including members of my family, I handed myself over to the Estcourt prison.”
Zuma then turned his attention to his opponents, the judiciary and the ANC.
He said that there had been “many attempts made to remove me from a leadership position in the ANC and democratic government since 1994”.
“The Judicial Commission of Inquiry [into Allegations of State Capture] was a final measure of those who fear what I represent.”
He said the law was increasingly being “experienced and advancing interests of the rich and powerful”.
He further claimed the law was only accessible and restricted to a tiny minority with huge financial resources.
Legal experts have, however, dismissed Zuma’s appeal to the African Court, and told News24 the court has no jurisdiction over the matter and that his application is “ill-advised”.