Are you using apartheid legislation and killers to defend your criminal case? Maimane asks Zuma on Twitter
It has been 11 days since former president Jacob Zuma joined Twitter. He has played soccer with children, done a Zulu war dance and played chess against a child. But his Sunday video wasn't uBaba playing Mr Nice Guy.
He took on the judiciary over its decision that he should pay his legal fees. In what his critics have called a fundraising stunt, he accused the state of defending apartheid leaders while freedom fighters, such as himself, have to pay for themselves.
His Twitter account was launched on the same day as judge president Aubrey Ledwaba ruled in the North Gauteng High Court that the state was not liable to pay Zuma's legal fees for the corruption case against him.
He was also ordered to pay back the money already spent on defending him.
In the video, Zuma said he had ordered his lawyers to appeal the judgment. He then urged no one in particular to "apply their minds" with regard to the court's decision.
"What I would like to make clear is that all of us, as citizens of this democratic country, must respect the judgments taken by courts," he said.
"These may be very painful decisions and we may be feeling very hurt, perhaps as I do," said Zuma.
He then went on to say that the state paid the legal costs of "apartheid killers", some of whom "killed my comrades".
"But the very same state is saying me, one among those who have fought for this very democratic state, I must pay for myself," he said.
But many people quickly pointed out to him that the court’s decision may not be as unfair as he makes it seem.
Economic Freedom Fighters secretary-general Godrich Gardee tweeted: "But @PresJGZuma The Executive of the State @CyrilRamaphosa agreed to pay for you & the judiciary stopped him alleging that your conduct was not in furtherance of state policy but self seeking & private benefit as against apartheid then was state policy enforced by its officers."
But @PresJGZuma The Executive of the State @CyrilRamaphosa agreed to pay for you & the judiciary stopped him alleging that your conduct was not in furtherance of state policy but self seeking & private benefit as against apartheid then was state policy enforced by its officers— Godrich Gardee (@GardeeGodrich) December 23, 2018
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane tweeted: “Baba, are you using apartheid legislation and killers to defend your criminal case?”
Baba, are you using apartheid legislation and killers to defend your criminal case?— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) December 23, 2018
Many Twitter users were not charmed by Zuma’s charisma in front of the camera, citing his controversial presidency for their disillusionment.
@leratokowa2012 echoed the beliefs of others regarding the timing of Zuma launching his Twitter account, saying that he was trying to raise funds to pay back the R16m he has already spent on legal fees.
"Baba joined Twitter just after the judgment. This tells me that Baba might be on Twitter for donations. Baba never think of joining Twitter all these years. Until the judgment," read the Tweet.
"The challenge is not his legal fees going forward. It's about the R16m plus that he must reimburse the state. You got to love this guy. A populist politician extraordinaire. I wonder why he joined Twitter immediately after court judgment? To solicit sympathy and play victim," said Twitter user @lesiba_thabetha.
Yet Zuma is not without his supporters, many of whom attacked those who criticised the former president while others took his point and asked for the law to be applied consistently.
"The state decides to pay for apartheid murders and instruct the people's President to pay his legal fees. This is the highest form of Satanism," said Twitter user @NhlanhlaBelecia.