South Africa-Politics-Zuma

Supporters welcome Zuma home from Cuba medical trip

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

A defiant former president Jacob Zuma returned home from Cuba on Saturday as dozens of supporters welcomed him home at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Zuma, who has an outstanding warrant of arrest for his failure to attend court on a corruption case, said he is not afraid to go to jail if found guilty. 

 His lawyers last month explained that Zuma’s absence from court proceedings was necessitated by his medical trip to Cuba but the court found their medical letter wanting – thereby issuing the arrest warrant for him. 

 Speaking to the supporters, the smiling and charismatic former president told them he was not afraid of prison.

 Zuma added: “When I am wanted in court, I go. Even during the time white people were in charge, I went to court. They imprisoned me for 10 years and I came out. 

“Even now, if this government of ours can arrest me and find me guilty, I will go to prison.”

Zuma is alleged to have taken bribes of $600,000 related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president under former president Thabo Mbeki, who later forced him to quit as his second in command in 2005.

 He faces a total of 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment alongside co-accused Thales of France, an arms dealer. 

Zuma’s next court appearance is set for 6 May in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal Province.

NM/as/APA

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