Former president Jacob Zuma, who recently ended a 15-month jail term for contempt of court, on Saturday slammed judges, saying the sentence was excessive.
“Having reached the end of my unlawful incarceration, …I decided that the circumstances of my conviction and direct imprisonment should give us a chance to reflect,” he told a news conference.
“This conviction is unlawful,” he said during his first media conference since ending the sentence on October 7.
Zuma was jailed in July last year after refusing to testify before a graft inquiry, but was released on medical parole two months later.
“The fact is that the highest court in the land violated the law,” said the 80-year-old.
“We need to make sure judges are not reduced to politicians,” he said warning that “if we don’t stand up and hold members of the judiciary accountable, we will be creating a judicial dictatorship in this country”.
Zuma’s jailing last year sparked riots that descended into looting and left more than 350 dead in the worst violence to hit the country since the advent of democracy in South Africa.
Zuma is a divisive figure whose name resonates with graft for most South Africans but he remains a hero to many grassroots ANC members.