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Zuma: My no show in court was not to evade justice

The former statesman claimed that he had been receiving medical treatment in Cuba and therefore could not be in court.

Former President Jacob Zuma arrives at OR Tambo International Airport on 22 February 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/ EWN

KEMPTON PARK - Former President Jacob Zuma said his no show in court was not to evade justice.

Zuma arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday afternoon, where he addressed a number of his supporters.

The former statesman claimed that he had been receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

His return to the country comes at a time when there's mounting anticipation of the outcome of various proceedings, including his corruption case in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

WATCH: Zuma: I'll be in court when the doctors clear me

He was issued a warrant of arrest for failing to appear in court earlier this month.

Zuma's lawyer provided the court with a medical certificate, which Judge Dhaya Pillay questioned.

Addressing scores of his supporters at the airport, Zuma said he was not afraid of prison.

He said he had to receive medical assistance because his health remained a priority.

“I’ve taken the decision that my health is very important and that the doctors must examine it.”

Zuma said he was genuinely sick and was not trying to avoid his day in court.

“The reason I’m wearing these sunglasses is that there is something wrong with my eyes. When there is too much light, they get affected.”

Zuma was wearing sunglasses, saying doctors in Cuba performed an operation on his eyes.

The former president said he would appear in court when doctors cleared him.

ZUMA DESERVES TO BE PROTECTED

Zuma's supporters said they would never abandon him.

A hero, a radical transformation agent and uBaba - these were some of the titles supporters bestowed on Zuma.

One of his loyalists, ANC NEC member Supra Mahumapelo, said Zuma deserved to be protected.

Addressing the crowd, Zuma said he would appear in court because he had nothing to fear.

JUDGE PILLAY ‘RUSHED’ TO ISSUE WARRANT OF ARREST

Zuma said Judge Dhaya Pillay made a rushed decision when she issued a warrant for his arrest.

Pillay issued the arrest warrant last month after raising suspicion about the sick note Zuma's lawyers provided.

A tired-looking Zuma lashed out at Pillay for issuing a warrant for his arrest: “I’ve never been scared of jail, I’ll go just like when I went during apartheid.”

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, who was at the airport to support Zuma, said the former president needed to be protected against those conspiring against him.

“Those who want to arrest President Zuma must come and arrest us first, because you can’t arrest someone who is not well,” Masina said.