After succeeding in a last-ditch legal effort to delay his arrest for contempt of court, former South African President Jacob Zuma likened his treatment to apartheid-era detention without trial.
“Things like detention without trial should never again see the light of day in South Africa. The struggle for a free South Africa was a struggle for justice that everyone was treated equally before the law,” said Zuma, at a Sunday press conference at his homestead in Nkandla.
Zuma faces a fifteen-month sentence for contempt ordered by the Constitutional Court for refusing to face questions at an anti-corruption commission looking into allegations of corruption during his tenure as president.
He was due to hand himself in by the end of Sunday, but the court has agreed to hear a rescission application on July 12.
“The fact that I was lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial is something that should induce a sense of shock to all those who cherish freedom and the rule of law,” the 79-year-old former leader said, claiming jail time would be a death sentence.
Zuma repeated long-held views that he is treated unfairly by the court system. He denies any wrongdoing.
Zuma faces multiple charges of fraud, racketeering and corruption relating to an arms deal in the late 1990s.
He was found to have breached the constitution for using public funds to upgrade his lavish homestead at Nkandla, and is the center of multiple accusations of large-scale graft during his tenure as president.
Despite claiming that he wishes to face justice and his apparent willingness to go to jail, legal analysts say that Zuma’s strategy has long been to avoid facing trial in court over multiple allegations of graft or questions at the anti-corruption commission.