Former South African President Jacob Zuma whose 15 months correctional service ended today says he is relieved to be free again.
Zuma was jailed for refusing to appear before the Zondo Commission that was investigating him over corruption he allegedly committed during his presidency.
In a statement, Zuma said he felt like he was back in 1973 when he was released from Robben Island.
“It is a day of mixed emotions. I am relieved to be free again to walk around and do whatever I want to do without restrictions and having to seek permission, in the same manner that I felt in 1973 when I was released from Robben Island. Only this time, I am also filled with sadness. It was the first time ever that the Constitutional Court sentenced any person to a term of imprisonment and without even the benefit of a trial. I never expected this to happen during the freedom and democracy we fought so hard to attain.
“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to South Africans from all walks of life for the unwavering support and love during a most difficult and trying period. The phone calls, visits and messages of support on social media and other platforms kept me strong and focused on ensuring that those who wanted to break my spirit and resolve do not succeed. I also appreciate the prayer meetings and other gatherings that were organised during the incarceration period. These gave me and my family much encouragement and upliftment.
“A number of people have gone through a lot of hardships due to speaking out about my unjust and cruel incarceration. They remain firmly in our thoughts in their fight for human dignity and justice, which are among the values and principles that we all fought for as we struggled to liberate this country,” read Zuma’s statement.