Embattled former South African president Jacob Zuma has addressed supporters outside his home, declaring that ‘he will not go to jail’.
Zuma who was visibly dancing and singing ‘Mshiniwam’ (bring my machine gun), spoke on the deadline set by the constitutional court to hand himself over to start a 15-month jail term.
He told his supporters that he had sent letters to the court pleading the case that his sentencing “was wrong to ask and if they can reduce it or strike it out”.
“You have given the nation hope that no one will ever be mistreated or abused under this democratic dispensation” the former South African President told the cheering crowd of supporters.
The supporters, in their hundreds had remained camped outside Zuma’s home until Sunday morning when the former leader addressed them. Some supporters vowed to render the country ungovernable if Zuma ended up jailed. Some on Sunday were singing, “Don’t rush the war, war kills!”
After historically sentencing him to a 15-month term for contempt of court, South Africa’s constitutional court agreed to hear Zuma’s challenge to rescind the order.
A surrender deadline was set to run out on Sunday but after refusing to testify in a corruption trial, Zuma has shown no sign he will hand himself in to the authorities.
“If (Police Minister) Bheki Cele comes here to arrest uBaba (Zuma) he must start with us,” a protester Lindokuhle Maphalala told AFP.
Vowing to protect Zuma against jail time, other protesters called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down.