Jacob Zuma to hand himself over to start 15 month sentence for contempt of court

Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to hand himself over at a KZN correctional facility to begin his sentence. File picture: Neil Baynes

Nkandla – Former president Jacob Zuma on Wednesday, before midnight, left his home to hand himself into a correctional services facility in KZN, his foundation confirmed.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation issued a statement on social media saying the former president had decided to comply with the Constitutional Court’s incarceration order. It is believed that Zuma, escorted by the Presidential Protection Services, was making his way to the Escourt prison in the KZN Midlands.

Zuma had repeatedly told the country that he does not fear going to jail for his political stance and beliefs.

On Wednesday night a handful of supporters were camped at the gates of the gigantic rural home dancing to maskandi music which was being played from a Hyundai H1 vehicle. Some stayed in their cars and watched from a distance while the drama was unfolding.

Zuma’s troubles started when in December last year he refused to appear before the Zondo commission which is probing allegations of state capture during his nine-year presidency – between 2009 and 2018. In response to that, the commission chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo went to the Constitutional Court to compel Zuma to testify and it obtained that order.

However, Zuma defied this and when his defiance was heard on March 25 this year, Zuma opted not to take part, issuing a statement that he was not going to take part as the outcome was already going to be against him.

After a long silence, on June 29 the apex court handed down its judgment sentencing Zuma to 15 months in prison saying his utterances tested the limits of the court and if it went unpunished, it would undermine the rule of law.

Zuma was given until July 4 to hand himself in and he missed that deadline. In a frantic effort, his lawyers rushed to the Pietermaritzburg high court asking it to suspend his arrest until the Concourt has heard his application where he is complaining that he was jailed without a trial. The high court withheld it ruling thus opening him to arrest as there was no legal instrument barring them from arresting him.

Not even a letter by his lawyers to the apex court asking it to bar the police from arresting him could save the day. That was because the letter was not answered, leaving him vulnerable.

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