Unbelievable: Former President Sentenced To Prison. Former president is set to spent at least 15 months behind bars.
Jacob Zuma, former south African president was sentenced on contempt charges.
Zuma defied an order to appear before a corruption inquiry examining the breathtaking financial scandals that tainted his tenure as the country’s leader from 2009 to 2018.
“The only appropriate sanction is a direct, unsuspended order of imprisonment” lasting 15 months, the constitutional court said in a judgment on Tuesday.
This is the first time a former president of South Africa has been told to go jail since the end of apartheid.
The case was a major test for the judiciary and the inquiry. Zuma “sought to ignore, undermine and in many ways destroy the rule of law altogether,” the court said.
Zuma must turn himself in to police within five days. If he fails to do so, the police must “take all steps necessary” within three days to ensure that he goes to jail, the court said.
In a previous 21-page letter to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, which the court has described as “scandalous”, the 79-year-old ex-leader claimed he was ready to be sent to prison.
It comes after the inquiry’s lawyers approached the constitutional court seeking an order for Zuma’s imprisonment.
A spokesman for the former political leader told broadcaster eNCA that Zuma would be issuing a statement later, and gave no further details.
Zuma had become increasingly unpopular after facing a string of corruption claims when he resigned in February 2018.
The allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him – brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta – to plunder state resources and influence policy.
The Guptas also deny wrongdoing and left the country after Zuma was forced out of office, and succeeded by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Zuma is also facing a separate court case and charges – which he has denied – related to bribes that he allegedly received in connection with a $2bn arms deal in 1999, when he was deputy president.