Former South African President Jacob Zuma (79) has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for contempt of court.
He has been sentenced to direct imprisonment (not suspended) and has five days to present himself to a police station, at Inkandla (in KZN where he lives) or Joburg, to be sent to a correctional facility. If he doesn’t present himself, the Police Minister has been ordered to take action and make sure that he does.
SA’s Constitutional Court ruled today, Tuesday 29 June 2021, that Zuma was in contempt for failing to appear at the Zondo Commission of Enquiry in February this year. The judgment was a majority seven to two.
In a strongly worded statement, the Court sought to uphold itself as the custodian of the country’s constitution, saying that Zuma’s behaviour has been “contemptuous, outlandish, scandalous, egregious, vexatious and smacking of malice”.
The enquiry into state capture, which is presided over by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has been investigating allegations of corruption during Zuma’s years as President (2009 to 2018).
UCT Constitutional Law professor Richard Calland summed up the sentiments of many South Africans with a tweet saying: “Sad but proud moment for SA’s democracy: no-one should take pleasure in the sight of a former president going to jail. But the strength of the rule of law and the independence of court is something wonderful to behold.”
Zuma will next appear in court on 19 July 2021 on fraud and corruption charges.