Former South African President Jacob Zuma has called out to South Africans to support him with donations as he fights a series of legal battles including a wide-ranging corruption trial.
His foundation shared a tweet Tuesday asking the public to “lend a helping hand” with the former leader’s legal fees.
“We humbly request for donations support to help cover the legal fees of our patron,” a flyer posted in the tweet read, along with a bank account where donations could be made.
The appeal has stirred reactions from South Africans, with some of his supporters pledging to contribute, while others criticized him for asking the public.
“Zuma is on a 2.5 Million pension, his twins have huge security contingents and are driven on convoys, others have huge television productions…He must convene a family meeting for donations, not Twitter !!!” one user wrote.
The request came on the same day as Statistics South Africa released figures showing unemployment in the country rose to 34.4%, cited as the highest in the world, according to Bloomberg.
Zuma is currently serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court after defying a summons to appear at an inquiry into the corruption during his tenure.
He continuously denies the allegations levied against him and has likened his treatment to apartheid-era detention without trial.
Earlier this month, he was admitted to an outside hospital where he underwent surgeries for an undisclosed ailment, according to prison authorities. He is still receiving care in hospital and his corruption trial has been postponed to September 9.
Zuma’s arrest in July prompted looting across the country and some of the worst violence the country has experienced in years, leaving around 70 people dead.
He was president of South Africa from 2009-2018 when he was ousted following numerous high-level corruption scandals that include allowing businessmen Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta to plunder state resources and influence government policy. The Guptas deny wrongdoing but left South Africa after Zuma was ousted from the presidency.