South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma on Thursday made his first public appearance since his release from prison on medical parole last month, to lay charges against a chief state prosecutor in his corruption trial.
Zuma went to the Pietermaritzburg’s Loop Street Police Station in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg, where he is on trial for corruption, to open a criminal case against advocate Billy Downer for allegedly leaking his current state of health to the media.
The former president who was accompanied by one of his daughters, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, waved at his supporters who had gathered outside the police station. His supporters were chanting songs of victory for the former president.
Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, said “There’s a whole thick arch lever file, of evidence he has brought to show that what he’s talking about is not something he’s made up. He’s got evidence and he has submitted all the evidence to the police. The police will obviously investigate.”
One of the supporters, Landile Vika, promised their everlasting support for the president. “We will always be with him because he has been with us. So we will not leave him during this time. We will stay with him, all the time. Because we are the people of Zuma and we will die with him. We will go where he goes.”
Last month Jacob Zuma’s advocate, Dali Mpofu, Mpofu explained the Act prohibited Downer from providing legal documents to the media. He said Downer risks facing a 15-year sentence if found guilty of the charges.
“Former president Zuma takes the strongest possible exception to what was done with his confidential information and the way it was treated in this court. It amounts to criminal activity,” Mpofu said at the time.
In July, Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court for ignoring a separate inquiry into mass looting of public funds during his rule.
His jailing sparked violent protests and looting in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal that spread to the financial hub Johannesburg in July, claiming over 350 lives.
The next hearing is set for October 26.