Picture: Leo Correa/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The release of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from a Brazilian jail on Friday has seen South Africa’s own former head of state Jacob Zuma, who is facing a litany of corruption charges, take to Twitter to celebrate.

According to international reports Lula, who was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in July 2017 for corruption and money laundering, was released after the Brazilian Supreme Court overturned a previous judgment, ordering him to spend the entire 12-year term behind bars, as he had not been afforded the opportunity to exhaust all avenues to appeal the sentence.

Zuma, delighted at the judgment, took to his Twitter account which had been quiet for some time to give a message of support to the released Lula. 

“Welcome home my brother @LulaOficial Aluta continua. See you soon #LulaLivre”, Zuma wrote in celebration of the release of his former BRICS counterpart who last month had refused to apply for home detention and instead opted to remain behind bars to continue his bid to clear his name.

At the time Zuma used his Twitter account to post a picture of Lula da Silva and captioned it with the Latin phrase “Magna est veritas et praevalebit” which means “Truth is mighty and will prevail”.

Zuma, who was expected to appear before the state capture commission this week, wrote to the commission telling it that he would not be appear as he was ill. He was hospitalised at a Durban hospital for an unknown ailment and was only discharged from hospital on Thursday.

He again took to Twitter where he thanked his supporters for their well wishes. “Thank you all for the well wishes. Your messages have been overwhelming during this difficult time.”  

A date for his next appearance before the Zondo commission is yet to be announced, but he recently suffered a setback in a court matter heard at the Pietermaritzburg High Court involving his former cabinet minister Derek Hanekom.

He had been hauled by Hanekom before the court for tweeting that Hanekom was “a known enemy agent” in July and when the Durban High Court ruled in September that Zuma apologises to Hanekom and that he removes the Tweet, he applied for leave to appeal the ruling.

This was in relation to Hanekom admitting that he had worked with the Economic Freedom Fighters to oust Zuma from power. 

On Thursday Judge Dhaya Pillay rejected Zuma’s application to appeal. Earlier this month, the former President had suffered another judicial defeat when Pietermaritzburg High Court Judges Thoba Poyo-Dlwati, Bhekisisa Mnguni and Esther Steyn dismissed the application in which he and his co-accused France arms manufacturer Thales were seeking leave to appeal a high court ruling against an application for the permanent stay of prosecution for the arms deal fraud and corruption charges. 

Zuma has appealed the dismissal and this will be heard in court on November 22.

Political Bureau