Juba, South Sudan,
June 29, 2021 – A South African court has handed a 15-month jail sentence to former South African President Jacob Zuma over corruption charges.
Mr. Zuma was five days to surrender to the police and failure to comply would compel the police to issue an arrest warrant.
The former President was sentenced after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt for defying its order to make an appearance at an inquiry into corruption during his term of office.
Zuma’s tenure of office ended in 2018 after he was voted out by the African National Congress and replaced by the incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa.
His one-term spell in South Africa’s highest office was dogged by allegations of corruption allegations.
Under Zuma’s rule, protagonists were accused of conspiring with business cartels to manipulate government decisions on national affairs.
Mr. Zuma, a comic personality, made a single appearance at the inquiry into what was dubbed “State Capture”, a phrase synonymous with the influence of the Gupta family on the South African government under the former leader.
But the court expected him to appear more subsequently. He refused, forcing the commission of inquiry headed by Justice Raymond Zondo to rope in the Constitutional Court.
Even as the court made the ruling on Thursday, Mr. Zuma was no show. The President refused to come to court to explain his actions.
The Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe was raged in her ruling saying Mr. Zuma “elected instead to make provocative, unmeritorious, and vituperative statements that constituted a calculated effort to impugn the integrity of the judiciary.” She was left with no option.
“I am left with no option but to commit Mr. Zuma to imprisonment, with the hope that doing so sends an unequivocal message… the rule of law and the administration of justice prevails.”
The former president was not in court to hear the majority ruling and has repeatedly declared that he was the “victim” of a “giant political conspiracy.”