President Jacob Zuma of South Africa on Saturday said he was not afraid of being jailed over the release of an anti-corruption report critical of him.
Thousands of protesters called for the president to resign after the 355-page probe was released and some opposition politicians said Zuma should face criminal charges.
But addressing supporters since his first public appearance since investigators documented signs of government corruption, Zuma recalled how he was jailed during apartheid.
“I’m not scared of jail. I’ve been to jail during the struggle,” he said.
“People think democracy is done at courts. They never mention the will of the majority‚ they always talk about courts. They never even speak to us about democratic debates because they know we are good at debates.
“They think by going to courts they are intimidating the ANC. We are not going to be intimidated‚ even if it means I get arrested today‚ I am used to it. I have spent a lot of time in jail‚ you cannot threaten me with jail time .I am not scared of jail I have been there.”
Last week, the Public Protector, an anti-graft watchdog, asked a judge to investigate whether Zuma, cabinet members and some state companies acted improperly in their dealings with wealthy Indian businessmen.
The Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, who are friends of Zuma and work with his son, have been accused of influencing cabinet appointments and securing sweetheart government tenders.