Zuma goes to jail: Hope returns to South Africa

South Africa breathes a sigh of relief as Former President Jacob Zuma has 5 days to hand himself over to start his 15-month jail term handed down by the Constitutional Court on 29 June. South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in jail by the country’s highest court.

The country has watched him slip away from accounting for State Capture, his corrupt dealings with the Gupta family, and for receiving money from Schabir Shaik. This time, Zuma’s imprisonment is due to his refusal to obey a Constitutional Court order to testify at the Zondo Commission.

As veteran journalist Stephen Grootes described it: “He’s going to jail for refusing to give evidence that he has said he wanted to give, to a commission he himself appointed. If it feels absurd, it is because it is absurd.

He has been given five days to hand himself in to police. Failing that, the police minister must order his arrest. The sentence comes after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt for defying its order to appear at an inquiry into corruption while he was president. Mr Zuma’s time in power, which ended in 2018, was dogged by graft allegations.

Since 2018, theZondo Commission, established by Zuma himself, has been investigating ‘allegations of state capture, corruption, fraud’ within the public sector. Focus has been on the Zuma presidency and accusations of ‘state capture’ by the Gupta family and close associates, as well as nationwide maladministration and corruption at multiple levels.

Additionally, Zuma is being charged for corruption relating to a $5bn arms deal from the 1990s. He faces 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud, and money laundering, accepting a total of 783 illegal payments.

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