Former South African President Turns Himself In To The Police
Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, will serve his jail sentence after turning himself over to the police.
Zuma, who served as head of the country’s office from 2009 to 2018, will now begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
The 79-year-old was handed the jail term after failing to turn up and testify at an enquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in February, examining widespread allegations of corruption during his time as president.
The Constitutional Court ordered that Zuma would be arrested by the end of the day yesterday, July 7, if he didn’t voluntarily hand himself over to the police. His case has sparked drama and rising tensions across the country, which has never seen a former president behind bars.
As the deadline approached, Zuma eventually left his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province in a convoy of vehicles, where hundreds of supporters had gathered in a bid to prevent his arrest.
‘Please be advised that President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order. He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN,’ the Zuma Foundation tweeted.
Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from South Africa, said he’s being processed at the facility, where he’s likely to remain for the first few days of his sentence. ‘Once that processing is completed, authorities determine the most suitable correctional facility or accommodation for the former president given his age and his health,’ she said.
Zuma, argued he shouldn’t be in prison due to his age, health and the country’s ongoing battle against COVID-19. However, having earlier been incarcerated by the apartheid regime he fought against, he told supporters he was ‘not afraid of going to jail.’
‘I went to prison fighting for freedom and rights and it looks like I will have to start from scratch and fight for freedom again. There is nobody who can come and take these rights away from me just because they think they understand the law. Those I fought for this freedom with would turn in their graves,’ he said, as per the MailOnline.
He also compared the judges who sentenced him to the white apartheid minority rulers. ‘The fact that I was lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial should engender shock in all those who believe in freedom and the rule of law. South Africa is fast sliding back to apartheid rule,’ Zuma also told reporters.
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