South African court jails former President Jacob Zuma for fifteen months on contempt charges

Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock after recess in his corruption trial in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

South Africa’s constitutional court sentenced former president Jacob Zuma to 15 months in jail for contempt of court on Tuesday after he failed to appear at a corruption inquiry earlier this year.

Zuma failed to appear at the inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in February, after which the inquiry’s lawyers approached the constitutional court to seek an order for his imprisonment.

The inquiry is examining allegations of high-level graft during Zuma’s period in power from 2009 to 2018. Zuma denies wrongdoing and has so far not cooperated.

“Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is sentenced to undergo 15 months’ imprisonment,” a constitutional court judge said, reading out the court’s order.

Zuma has to appear before police within five days, the judge added.

A spokesman for Zuma told eNCA television that the former president would issue a statement later, without elaborating.

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, who also deny wrongdoing, left South Africa after Zuma was ousted in a move orchestrated by allies of his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa has been trying to restore investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialised nation. However, he has faced opposition from a faction within the governing African National Congress party that is still loyal to Zuma.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s