July 08, 2021 – Former South African President Jacob Zuma has reportedly handed himself over to the police as begins serving a jail sentence passed by the constitutional court.
Mr. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail on charges of corruption and abuse of office.
The former president also tried to brush off the court ruling saying “the judge was stubborn”.
However, Lirandzu Themba, a police spokesperson, confirmed that Zuma was in police custody, in compliance with the Constitutional Court judgment.
In another statement, the Department of Correctional Services said Mr. Zuma was admitted to Estcourt Correctional Centre, about 175 km (108 miles) from his rural homestead in Nkandla in eastern South Africa. Zuma’s motorcade was filmed entering the facility.
The court gave Zuma a 15-month jail term last week for defying an instruction earlier in February to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power until his removal in 2018.
In a dramatic scene, the police were instructed to arrest Zuma by the end of Wednesday if he would not appear at a police station. In response, hundreds of his supporters, some of them armed with guns, spears, and shields, had gathered nearby at his homestead to try to prevent his arrest.
It was unclear what compelled Zuma (79) to willingly submit to the police despite overwhelming support from the people on the ground.
“President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order,” his foundation said, the first time Zuma’s camp had shown any willingness to cooperate with the court.
But Mr. Zuma continues to deny widespread corruption under his leadership. He had struck a defiant note on Sunday, lashing out at the judges and launching legal challenges to his arrest.
His lawyers asked the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to suspend its order to the police to arrest him by midnight pending the outcome of his challenge against a jail sentence.
The Zondo Commission, a body tasked with investigating Mr. Zuma for corruption allegations labeled against him, examines allegations that he allowed three Indian-born businessmen, Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta, to plunder state resources and traffic influence government policy. He and the Gupta brothers, who fled to Dubai after Zuma was ousted, deny any wrongdoing.