South Africa’s Zuma files charges against prosecutor in first public showing since parole

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On a two-day state visit in France, former South African President Jacob Zuma makes a statement next to the French President Francois Hollande during a joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 11, 2016 in Paris, France. /Chesnot/Getty Images

Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma made his first public appearance on Thursday since his release from prison on medical parole.

Zuma walked into a police station in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg, where he is on trial for corruption, to open a criminal case against senior state prosecutor Billy Downer for allegedly leaking his medical records.

Zuma stepped out of his vehicle and up to the building’s entrance surrounded by security personnel.

He was accompanied by one of his daughters and waved to people queueing outside the building as he walked past.

A small crowd of supporters gathered on the street, singing and dancing in Zuma-print t-shirts.

Aged 79, Zuma was released from prison due to ill health two months into a 15-month jail sentence for refusing to collaborate with a graft probe into his 2009-18 presidency.

He was hospitalized from prison and underwent surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

Critics accuse the ex-leader of using ill health as an excuse to further delay a drawn-out corruption trial relating to a 1999 purchase of arms from five European firms.

Deputy president at the time, Zuma is accused of pocketing bribes from French defense giant Thales and faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering.

The trial kicked off this year after decades of postponements and delays.

Zuma wants Downer to recuse himself for allegedly sharing confidential medical information to the media.

The next hearing is set for October 26.

 

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