South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Granted Medical Parole

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021, former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma, jailed for 15 months in July for contempt of court after snubbing graft investigators, was placed on medical parole Sunday just two months into his term, prison authorities announced.

Zuma, 79, has been hospitalised since August 6 at a health facility outside the prison where he had been incarcerated for ignoring a court order to testify before a judicial panel probing corruption during his nine-year tenure, which lasted until 2018.

The Department of Correctional Services said in a statement on Sunday that Zuma’s “medical parole” took effect on Sunday and he will serve the rest of the 15-month prison sentence outside jail.

Zuma “will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires,” the statement said.

The decision was motivated “by a medical report” the department received, it said.

Zuma was admitted to hospital for observation on August 6 for an undisclosed condition, and underwent a surgical procedure on August 14. He remains hospitalised.

 

‘Dignity’

The prison authorities appealed to South Africans to “afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment”.

He started serving his sentence on July 8 at the Estcourt prison, around 180 kilometres (110 miles) northwest of Durban. Two weeks later, he was allowed to leave prison to attend his brother’s funeral at his rural home in the town of Nkandla.

His jailing sparked a spree of unprecedented violence and looting of businesses and shops in post-apartheid South Africa, resulting in millions of dollars worth of damage and losses.

His successor Cyril Ramaphosa described the unrest as an orchestrated attempt to destabilise the country and vowed to crack down on alleged instigators.

Earlier on Sunday a handful of veterans of the ruling ANC’s armed struggle wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, who have staunchly stood behind Zuma in recent years, disrupted a eulogy by party chairman Gwede Mantashe at a funeral of one of group’s leaders, chanting for Zuma to be freed from jail.

Zuma’s spokesman Mzwanele Manyi told AFP that while he had not spoken to the former president since the news broke, “he should have been relieved, anyone can only be elated when this happens”.

He said Zuma’s “unconstitutional” imprisonment had worsened his health.

“It (has) had an exponential impact in terms of deteriorating his condition,” he said while refusing to divulge the illness.

The largest opposition Democratic Alliance party slammed the parole as “entirely unlawful and makes a mockery” of prison regulations.

Meantime, Zuma’s long-running corruption trial over an arms deal dating back more than two decades was last month postponed to September 9, pending a medical report on his fitness to stand trial.

Proceedings have been repeatedly postponed for more than a decade as Zuma has fought to have the charges dropped.

Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, graft, and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats, and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

Jailed Ex-President Jacob Zuma To Attend Brother’s Funeral

In this file photo taken on May 17, 2021 Former South African president Jacob Zuma who is facing fraud and corruption charges greets supporters in the gallery of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 17, 2021. South Africa’s top court on June 29, 2021 found former president Jacob Zuma in contempt of court following his refusal to appear before a graft panel.

 

 

South Africa’s jailed ex-president Jacob Zuma was granted compassionate leave from prison on Thursday so he can attend his brother’s funeral, the government said.

Zuma, 79, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court last month after snubbing graft investigators probing his presidency.

He turned himself in on July 8 at a jail in the eastern town of Estcourt, around an hour’s drive from his rural Nkandla home.

His incarceration sparked riots and looting that escalated into the worst violence since the end of apartheid, killing at least 276 people, according to the official count.

“As a short-term, low-risk classified inmate, Mr Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved,” the department of correctional services said in a statement Thursday.

It added that inmates were not required to wear “offender uniform” outside correctional facilities.

The funeral for Zuma’s brother Michael is expected to take place later on Thursday in Nkandla, where Zuma is particularly popular.

Zuma’s brother died aged 77 after a long illness, according to local media.

Inmates in South Africa are usually allowed to attend relatives’ funerals — a right denied to the country’s first black president Nelson Mandela when he was in jail for fighting the apartheid regime.

After nine years in office, Zuma was ousted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in 2018 over a series of graft scandals that arose during his presidency.

The charismatic ex-leader retains a fervent support base both within the ANC and among the general public.

Zuma is also on trial for allegedly taking kickbacks from an arms deal with several international companies in 1999, when he was deputy president.

He fervently denies any wrongdoing.

Jacob Zuma’s Trial Resumes In August

In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021 Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. 
Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

Jacob Zuma’s long-running corruption trial will resume on August 10, a South African judge ruled on Tuesday after the ex-president sought to have the case postponed because of the pandemic and recent unrest.

The order marks a victory for Zuma, who is serving a 15-month jail term for contempt of court on an unrelated matter.

Zuma appeared in court on Monday via video link from his prison, where he was jailed on July 8 for snubbing an order from South Africa’s top judges to appear before a corruption probe.

Following his jailing, South Africa plunged into chaos, with looting and rioting erupting in Zuma’s home region of KwaZulu-Natal before spreading to Johannesburg.

A total of 215 people were killed, according to the authorities, while the total financial cost of the unrest could reach 50 billion rand ($3.4 billion), according to consultancy Intellidex.

The violence, which subsided by the weekend, was widely seen as at least partially in response to Zuma’s imprisonment.

The 79-year-old faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

Both Zuma and Thales have entered pleas of not guilty.

 ‘Constitution has prevailed’

 

 

“The trial is adjourned to 10 to 13 August,” Judge Piet Koen said during Tuesday’s hearing.

Zuma’s foundation immediately lauded the decision, tweeting: “The Constitution has prevailed at last!”

“There can be NO virtual criminal proceedings in the absence of an accused person who is unable to consult with his lawyers,” it said.

But the judge ordered the parties in the case to furnish the court with reasons why the August sitting should not be held virtually.

Lawyers are pushing for Zuma to appear physically in court arguing that virtual hearings deprive him of the right to a “public trial” and to consult his defence.

But Wim Trengove, a lawyer representing the state, had on Monday argued against a postponement, labelling Zuma’s request as “Stalingrad: Season 27” in an apparent reference to the ex-leader’s litigation strategy.

The sensational case has been postponed numerous times in more than a decade as Zuma, who has described the trial as a “political witch hunt”, has made repeated bids to have the charges dropped.

Observers had previously feared that Monday’s hearing could reignite tensions that had eased by the weekend.

However, the situation outside the court was calm.

The charismatic ex-leader is a member of the country’s numerically dominant Zulu ethnic group.

He has retained a fervent support base, especially within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), where loyalists portray him as a man of the people and a defender of the poor.

The ex-president and his backers have repeatedly dismissed scrutiny of his conduct as politically motivated and warned his jailing would spark unrest.

But they deny being behind the recent turmoil.

Most of the allegations under investigation by the ongoing corruption inquiry, which is separate from the arms deal trial, involve three brothers from a wealthy Indian business family, the Guptas.

The family won lucrative government contracts and allegedly picked ministers during Zuma’s nine years in office.

The mounting scandals forced the ANC to push out Zuma in 2018 and replace him with Cyril Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader who became a wealthy businessman in post-apartheid South Africa.

-AFP

Tight Security As Zuma’s Graft Trial Resumes Virtually

A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier stands guard outside of the High Court, where the graft trial of South African ex-president Jacob Zuma resumes in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg, on July 19, 2021. PHOTO: GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP

 

Ex-president Jacob Zuma returned to court on Monday for the resumption of a long-running graft trial, with proceedings held online in a bid to forestall another wave of the deadly unrest that swept South Africa after he was jailed in a separate case.

Security forces threw a cordon around the High Court in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Zuma’s home region of KwaZulu-Natal, where loyalists have previously gathered in rowdy shows of support.

The measures were later eased to allow street access after the area was deserted.

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Zuma, 79, faces 16 charges of fraud, graft, and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats, and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

The trial started in May after numerous postponements and delays, as Zuma’s legal team battled to have the charges dropped.

An emotionless Zuma made a virtual appearance from prison in the nearby town of Estcourt, sitting on a black office chair in a white-walled room, clad in a black suit, white shirt, and red tie.

He had proclaimed his innocence when he appeared in person for the opening in May. Thales has also pleaded not guilty.

On June 29, Zuma was separately found guilty of contempt of South Africa’s top court for snubbing graft investigators probing his time as president. He was jailed on July 8.

 

– Seeking another delay –

South Africa was then plunged into chaos, with looting and rioting erupting in KwaZulu-Natal, before spreading to the economic hub of Johannesburg in Gauteng province, claiming more than 200 lives.

The unrest was widely seen as at least partially in response to Zuma’s imprisonment.

The trial is resuming virtually to avoid more “disruption”, the National Prosecuting Authority told AFP, although other court cases are also being heard online due to the pandemic.

But Zuma’s legal team claims the online format is unconstitutional and has applied for the trial to be adjourned.

His lawyer Dali Mpofu argued Zuma was being denied the right to a “public trial in front of an ordinary court”, to be physically present and consult his defence.

He said the unrest was “unforeseen” and asked Judge Piet Koen to push back proceedings by “two or three weeks.”

Zuma’s legal team has meanwhile also demanded that chief prosecutor Billy Downer recuse himself from the case over claims he leaked information to the media.

Downer has accused them of delaying tactics, which Mpofu vehemently denied.

Monday’s hearing could reignite tensions that had eased by the weekend, analysts warn.

 

– ‘Teflon president’ –

The charismatic ex-leader has retained a fervent support base within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and among the general public.

His followers portray him as a man of the people and a defender of the poor.

“People will be watching the behaviour of judges,” said Sipho Seepe, a fellow of the University of Zululand in KwaZulu-Natal.

“If they feel justice is not done, they will protest.”

Zuma and his backers have repeatedly dismissed the scrutiny of the ex-president’s conduct as politically motivated and warned his jailing would spark unrest.

But they deny being behind the recent turmoil.

Zuma once dubbed the “Teflon president”, has started serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt.

He was arrested for disobeying a Constitutional Court order to testify before a judicial panel probing the plunder of state coffers during his nine-year presidency.

Most of the transgressions investigated by the commission involve three brothers from a wealthy Indian business family, the Guptas, who won lucrative government contracts and were allegedly allowed to choose cabinet ministers.

Zuma only testified once in July 2019.

The ANC forced Zuma — who is a member of the country’s numerically dominant Zulu ethnic group — to resign in 2018 after mounting graft scandals.

AFP

‘No Receipt, Hard Luck’: South Africa Police Seize Suspected Loot

Looters take away few items left to grab in a vandalised mall in Vosloorus, on July 14, 2021. The raging unrest first erupted last Friday after former president Jacob Zuma started serving a 15-month term for contempt, having snubbed a probe into the corruption that stained his nine years in power.
MARCO LONGARI / AFP

 

 

Along a street in a sprawling Johannesburg township, near a shopping mall plundered during last week’s unrest, police fling open a refrigerator door and toss out packets of vegetables and milk.

They then haul it, squeeze it between brown sofas and a bed already loaded on the back of a white van.

On top of that goes a leather armchair, followed by a blue child’s quad bike that wobbles precariously until it is securely strapped.

South African police who watched helplessly while mobs went on a looting rampage last week, are now on a campaign to recover goods stolen in full view of television cameras.

“Everybody will have to be able to show us the receipts for those flat screens, fridges and all that,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said on local television earlier in the week.

“It is going to be a very tough time in many houses… you must give us the receipt of the appliance, and if you don’t have the receipt, hard luck.”

Officers in northern Johannesburg’s Alexandra township were true to the words of their boss, squeezing through alleyways only just wide enough to walk down, seizing anything that looked new but did not have a receipt.

Soldiers deployed to help quell the unrest stand guard, cradling guns as residents watch timidly from the side of the road.

With the initial booty loaded away, the men head back into the labyrinth of narrow alleyways that criss-cross the sloping township.

They weave past corrugated iron, plywood and plastic houses crammed tightly together, brushing against lines of laundry strung across their path.

One policeman climbs onto stacked concrete blocks marking small front yards to look over the shacks and shouts out directions.

“You have anything here?” asks a soldier peeping into a shack.

They enter homes and come out with sacks of clothes and other pilfered items. Some would have been sold, while others kept for personal use

A few residents are perched on their roofs, from where they look down at the parade.

It emerges that larger looted objects are stored on rooftops because of a lack of indoor space in the small makeshift structures that are part of some South African townships.

– Bustling streets –
With no ladder, one officer is given a leg-up to climb onto a rusty corrugated iron sheet that cracks loudly under his feet — all to see if anything else is hidden on roofs.

Colleagues urge him to tread carefully and avoid the dangerous tangle of electric wires supplying power to the township.

A printer, a sound system and a vacuum cleaner are lowered to the ground.

The latter would probably have been sold to an informal car washer, one officer suggests, hammer in hand.

A woman peers out from her front door, warming her hands around a steaming cup of tea.

She greets the officers and watches them make their way back to the vehicles.

Soldiers remain behind to secure the area as all the remaining goods are packed into the vans.

The street around them is bustling with life. Meat sizzles on open-air grills while a group of people burn a pile of waste further up the hill.

With the confiscated goods headed to a warehouse where business owners will identify them, the vans drive away, leaving butternut, onions and spinach strewn on the dusty road.

Death Toll Rises To 72 In South Africa Zuma Riots

Smoke rises from a Makro building set on fire overnight in Umhlanga, north of Durban, on July 13, 2021 as several shops, businesses and infrastructure are damaged in the city, following four nights of continued violence and looting sparked by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma. RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP
Smoke rises from a Makro building set on fire overnight in Umhlanga, north of Durban, on July 13, 2021 as several shops, businesses and infrastructure are damaged in the city, following four nights of continued violence and looting sparked by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma. RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP

 

Stores and warehouses in South Africa were hit by looters on Tuesday for a fifth day running despite a move by President Cyril Ramaphosa to deploy troops in a bid to quell unrest that has claimed 72 lives. 

As large-scale pillaging erupted in the economic capital of Johannesburg and southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, the crisis burst into the political arena, where South Africa’s main opposition accused radicals of stoking the unrest.

The armed forces were sending 2,500 soldiers to help the police, who have been utterly overwhelmed.

But these numbers are dwarfed by the more than 70,000 troops deployed to enforce last year’s coronavirus lockdown, and only handful of soldiers were seen at some shopping centres.

The raging unrest first erupted last Friday after former president Jacob Zuma started serving a 15-month term for contempt after snubbing a probe into the corruption that stained his nine years in power.

By the weekend it started spreading to Gauteng province.

“The total number of people who have lost their lives since the beginning of these protests …has risen to 72,” police said in a statement late Tuesday.

Most of the deaths, the forces, said “relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops”.

Others were linked to shooting and explosions of bank automatic cash machines.

With the recent deployment of soldiers, police said “more boots have been on the ground”.

The number of arrests have risen to 1,234, although many thousands have been involved in the ransacking sprees.

Casual looting

Earlier TV footage showed dozens of women, some wearing their dressing gowns, men and even children strolling into a butcher’s cold store in Soweto, coming out balancing heavy boxes of frozen meat on their shoulders or heads.

Police showed up three hours later, and fired rubber bullets and soldiers followed much later.

In Alexandra township north of Johannesburg, hundreds of people streamed in and out of a shopping mall, freely picking up groceries.

In Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal’s capital, people hauled boxed refrigerators through bushes to a long line of cars that were parked along a highway.

In Durban, aerial footage showed hundreds of people looting a large shopping centre and carting off huge boxes of goods.

A woman was seen throwing her young baby from the first floor of a building in bid to save her from fire after  retail shops below her block of apartments, was set on fire in downtown Durban. The child safely landed in the hands of a group of people on the street.

‘Anarchy’

In his nationwide address Monday night, Ramaphosa lashed “opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft.”

“The path of violence, of looting and anarchy, leads only to more violence and devastation,” Ramaphosa said.

But the crisis took a political twist on Tuesday as the largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, announced it would file criminal charges on Wednesday against Zuma’s children and the leader of the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema.

In a statement, the party accused them of using “social media to express comments which appear to encourage and incite the violence and looting.”

Once dubbed the “Teflon president,” Zuma was handed the jail term on June 29 by the Constitutional Court for bucking an order to appear before a commission probing the graft that proliferated under his nine years in power.

He started serving the jail term on Thursday after handing himself in to authorities as a deadline for his surrender loomed.

He is seeking to have the ruling against him set aside. The Constitutional Court has reserved its judgement on his application to rescind its ruling.

Zuma popularity

Zuma, 79, is a former anti-apartheid fighter who spent 10 years in jail in the notorious Robben Island jail off Cape Town.

He rose in democratic South Africa to vice president and then president, before being ousted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in 2018 as graft scandals proliferated.

But he remains popular among many poor South Africans, especially grassroots members of the ANC, who portray him as a defender of the disadvantaged.

South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised country, is deep in an economic malaise, with cripplingly high levels of unemployment. Economic activity had already been badly affected by restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus.

 

AFP

South Africa Deploys Troops As Unrest Spirals After Zuma Jailing

Members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) aim at looters following sporadic looting and vandalism outside the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg, on July 12, 2021. 

 

South Africa’s army said Monday it was deploying troops to two provinces, including its economic hub of Johannesburg, to help crush mob violence and looting as unrest sparked by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma entered its fourth day.

“The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance,” the military said in a statement.

Personnel will “assist law enforcement agencies deployed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces respectively to quell the unrest that has gripped both Provinces in the last few days,” it said.

The violence raged as the Constitutional Court was reviewing a landmark decision to jail Zuma for contempt of court. An announcement is expected later.

The country’s top court on June 29 slapped Zuma with a 15-month term for snubbing a probe into the corruption that stained his nine years in power.

Zuma began the sentence last Thursday but is seeking to have the ruling set aside.

“What we are saying is that this court made fundamentally rescindable errors,” Zuma’s lawyer Dali Mpofu argued in an on-line hearing before nine of the court’s 11 judges.

Zuma had been treated unfairly and his “right to mitigation was limited,” he said.

But one of the judges, Steven Majiedt, bluntly said Zuma had been convicted “because he disobeyed the order of this court.”

Despite his reputation for graft and scandal, the 79-year-old former anti-apartheid fighter remains popular among many poor South Africans.

Looting

South African Police Services (SAPS) members arrest looters at the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, east of Johannesburg, on July 12, 2021. Several shops are damaged and cars burnt in Johannesburg, following a night of violence. Police are on the scene trying to control further protests. It is unclear if this is linked to sporadic protests following the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.
Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

The epicentre of the unrest is Zuma’s home region, the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Shortly before the military’s announcement, troops were seen on the streets of its capital Pietermaritzburg and smoke billowed from the roof of a large shopping mall.

A retail shop in Durban was looted Monday morning while in Eshowe, a town near Zuma’s Nkandla home, police fired rubber bullets to disperse crowds after a supermarket was ransacked.

In Johannesburg, in Gauteng province, an AFP photographer saw a corpse at one site. The cause of the death was not immediately known. Sections of a major highway were closed.

Police said more than 200 people had been arrested.

Some of the protests appear to have been triggered by Zuma’s detention, but they are also associated with grinding unemployment and hardship inflicted by a toughening of anti-Covid measures.

 

Ramaphosa appeal

In this file photo taken on March 22, 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) conducts a media briefing at the end of a meeting with various business leaders and political party leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Phill Magakoe / AFP
 Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called on dissenters to protest peacefully.

“While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this moment, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions,” he said.

Once dubbed the “Teflon president,” Zuma started serving the jail term after handing himself in to authorities as a deadline for surrender loomed.

On Friday he lost a petition at the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have his case thrown out.

The court said it was not empowered to interfere with rulings set down by the Constitutional Court and that Zuma’s claims about his health were not “supported by any evidence.”

The anti-graft panel is probing the massive siphoning off of state assets that occurred during Zuma’s 2009-2018 presidency.

He testified just once, in July 2019, but then swiftly withdrew his cooperation, saying he was offended at being treated as an “accused” and not as a witness.

Under the terms of his sentence, Zuma could be back home before Christmas as he would be eligible for parole in less than four months.

He separately faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering in an arms procurement scandal dating to 1999, when he was vice president.

-AFP

South Africa’s Zuma Eligible For Parole In Under Four Months

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021 Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma handed himself in to police late on July 7, 2021 to begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, his foundation said.
Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma, who on Thursday began a 15-month sentence for contempt, will be eligible to be released on parole in just under four months, the authorities said.

Under the country’s correctional regulations, “the former president will be eligible for parole once a quarter of his sentence has been served,” Justice Minister Ronald Ramola told reporters.

Zuma “will be afforded dignity throughout his term of incarceration,” he said, speaking in front of Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Zuma handed himself in overnight to the police to begin serving the sentence at the jail, which is located in a small farming town.

The sentence was handed down by the Constitutional Court on June 29 after Zuma refused an order to appear before anti-graft investigators.

Zuma, who is in “good spirits” will be placed in isolation for the first 14 days in jail in line with Covid-19 protocols, the minister said, adding that he would not receive “any special treatment.”

-AFP

South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Starts Serving Jail Term For Contempt

South African police Service (SAPS) vehicles are seen outside former South African president Jacob Zuma’s house in Nkandla on July 7, 2021. In a historic ruling, the Constitutional Court handed Zuma a 15-month sentence for contempt of court for snubbing anti-graft investigators. PHOTO: NKANDLA, SOUTH AFRICA/AFP

 

Former president Jacob Zuma turned himself into prison early Thursday to begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of the country’s highest court, officials said.

Prison authorities confirmed that Zuma “has been admitted to start serving a 15 months sentence at Estcourt Correctional Centre” in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

It is the first time a former president has been jailed in post-apartheid South Africa.

His turning himself in after days of refusing to do so brought an end to an impasse that had gripped the country, which is also battling a brutal third wave of Covid-19.

The sentence handed to Zuma by the Constitutional Court last week for snubbing anti-graft investigators also set a benchmark for the continent, by jailing a former head of state for refusing to respond to a corruption probe.

 In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021, Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. PHOTO: Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

Police had earlier on Wednesday warned they were prepared to arrest Zuma by a midnight deadline to enforce the ruling unless the top court instructed otherwise.

But in the end, the former leader decided to make his own way to prison.

Just minutes before the deadline expired, his foundation tweeted that Zuma had “decided to comply with the incarceration order” and hand himself to a correctional facility.

A convoy of cars believed to be carrying Zuma drove out of his homestead at high speed about 40 minutes before the cut-off time.

Zuma’s daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla tweeted that he was “still in high spirits” and that “he said that he hopes they still have his same overalls from Robben Island… We salute dad!”

 

– Corruption scandals –

Zuma had mounted a last-ditch legal defence and refused to turn himself in.

He had pleaded with the court for an 11th-hour reprieve, requesting that it suspend its arrest orders until all legal processes were finalised — under the ruling, police were given three days to arrest him if he failed to surrender.

Zuma’s first application to halt his arrest was heard on Tuesday but the judgement was reserved until Friday.

Separately, he has pleaded with the Constitutional Court to reconsider and rescind its jail order.

That challenge will be heard next Monday.

Zuma, 79, was forced out of office in 2018 and replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa after a nine-year tenure stained by corruption scandals and the taint of cronyism.

Critics nicknamed him the “Teflon president” for his perceived ability to sidestep justice.

But his fortunes changed on June 29 when the court issued its damning judgement against him for contempt.

Zuma had refused to obey a court order to appear before a commission probing the siphoning-off of state assets under his presidency.

 

– Clout –

Prison officials said Zuma checked into the prison, renovated in 2019, some 200 kilometres away from his Nkandla homestead at around 1:00 am (2300 GMT).

At the weekend he defiantly declared he was prepared to go prison, even though “sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic, at my age, is the same as sentencing me to death.”

That was after he had told his supporters that there would be chaos if police “dared” arrest him.

Despite his tarnished reputation, the former president carries substantial weight among officials and grassroots members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The former herdboy was the ANC’s intelligence chief during the armed struggle against apartheid and spent 10 years in jail on notorious Robben Island.

Despite its internal tensions and divisions, the ANC said it would not interfere with the judiciary processes enveloping Zuma.

Zuma has also been accused of involvement in a bribery affair dating back more than 20 years.

He faces 16 charges of fraud, graft, and racketeering relating to a 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats, and military gear from five European arms firms for 30 billion rand, then the equivalent of nearly $5 billion.

AFP

UPDATED: South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Goes To Jail

In this file photo taken on May 17, 2021, Former South African President Jacob Zuma greets supporters in the gallery of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on May 17, 2021. PHOTO: ROGAN WARD / POOL / AFP

 

South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma turned himself into prison late Wednesday to begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, his foundation said.

In a historic ruling, the Constitutional Court last week handed Zuma a 15-month term for snubbing anti-graft investigators.

Police had earlier on Wednesday warned they were prepared to arrest the former president by a midnight deadline to enforce the ruling, unless the top court instructed otherwise.

But Zuma decided to make his way to an unnamed prison in his home province of Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN).

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“Please be advised that (ex) President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order,” the foundation tweeted.

“He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN,” it said, just minutes before the deadline expired.

A convoy of cars believed to be carrying Zuma drove out of his homestead at high speed about 40 minutes before the cut-off time for him to give himself up.

Zuma had mounted a last-ditch legal defence and refused to turn himself in by Sunday night as the court-ordered. Under the ruling, police were given three days to arrest him if he failed to surrender.

He had pleaded with the court for an 11th-hour reprieve.

In an urgent request to the Constitutional Court late Wednesday, Zuma’s lawyers asked it to “direct the suspension of its orders… to prevent our client from being arrested prior to all legal processes being finalised”.

Zuma’s first application to halt his arrest was heard on Tuesday but the judgement was reserved until Friday.

Separately, he has pleaded with the Constitutional Court to reconsider and rescind its jail order. That challenge will be heard next Monday.

Zuma, 79, was forced out of office in 2018 and replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa after a nine-year tenure stained by corruption scandals and the taint of cronyism.

Critics nicknamed him the “Teflon president” for his perceived ability to sidestep justice.

But his fortunes changed on June 29 when the court issued its damning judgement against him for contempt.

Zuma had refused to obey a court order to appear before a commission probing the siphoning off of state assets under his presidency.

 

– Clout –

Despite his tarnished reputation, the former president carries substantial weight among officials and grassroots members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

At the weekend he told his supporters that there would be chaos if police “dared” arrest him.

The former herdboy was the ANC’s intelligence chief during the armed struggle against apartheid and spent 10 years in jail on notorious Robben Island.

Despite its internal tensions, the ANC said it would not interfere with the judiciary processes enveloping Zuma.

Party spokesman Pule Made told reporters earlier that “we respect the independence of the judiciary”.

Zuma has also been accused of involvement in a bribery affair dating back more than 20 years.

He faces 16 charges of fraud, graft, and racketeering relating to a 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats, and military gear from five European arms firms for 30 billion rand, then the equivalent of nearly $5 billion.

AFP

South Africa’s President, Zuma Surrenders To Authorities

File photo of former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal on July 4, 2021.  Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma handed himself in to police late Wednesday to begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, his foundation said.

“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” (Kwazulu-Natal province), the foundation tweeted.

In a historic ruling, the Constitutional Court last week handed Zuma a 15-month term for snubbing anti-graft investigators.

Police had earlier on Wednesday warned they were prepared to arrest the former president by a midnight deadline to enforce the ruling, unless the top court instructed otherwise.

A convoy of cars believed to be carrying Zuma drove out of his homestead about 40 minutes before the cut-off for him to give himself up.

Zuma had mounted a last-ditch legal defence and refused to turn himself in by Sunday night as the court ordered. Under the ruling, police were given three days to arrest him if he failed to surrender.

In a letter earlier on Wednesday he had pleaded with the court for an 11th-hour reprieve.

AFP

S.Africa Police Won’t Arrest Zuma Until Legal Challenge Is Over

Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives ahead of his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on May 26, 2021. PHILL MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

South Africa’s police say they will not make any move to arrest ex-president Jacob Zuma, who has been handed a 15-month jail term for contempt, until he has fully exhausted his legal battle against the sentence, a document showed Tuesday.

Zuma has mounted a two-pronged last-ditch attempt to avoid jail after the Constitutional Court, the country’s top judicial authority, slapped him with the sentence last week.

He was told to turn himself in by midnight on Sunday, failing which police would be instructed to arrest him within the following three days.

On Friday, Zuma, 79, rushed to court seeking to halt the execution of the arrest order. His application is due to be heard on Tuesday in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

He has separately pleaded with the Constitutional Court to reconsider and rescind its jail order. That challenge will be heard on July 12.

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In a letter seen on Tuesday, lawyers for the police have written to Constitutional Court saying they will pause on the order to arrest Zuma given the “unique situation presented by the developments and the legal matrix involved.”

“Out of respect (for) the unfolding litigation processes, (the police will) hold further actions they are expected to take in terms of the honourable court’s orders in abeyance, pending the finalisation of the litigation,” the letter says.

Zuma was ordered to be jailed for disobeying a court order to appear before a commission probing massive state corruption under his nine-year tenure.

– ‘No one wants jail’ –

In a show of solidarity, hundreds of maskless supporters have descended on his rural home in Nkandla, in southeastern Kwa-Zulu Natal province, in blatant violation of Covid-19 restrictions that have banned gatherings.

On Sunday Zuma defiantly declared he was prepared to go prison, even though “sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic, at my age, is the same as sentencing me to death.”

A former fighter against white-minority government in South Africa who spent 10 years in prison Robben Island, Zuma comparing the country’s’ judiciary to “apartheid-type rule”.

“I am facing a long detention without trial,” he said.

The Zuma case has fuelled tensions within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), where the former president still commands much support among the grass roots.

The ANC on Monday condemned the crowds gathering in Nkandla but said it understood why Zuma was exploring every possible channel.

“No one wants to go to jail… I think that (ex-) president Zuma is exploring every legal avenue that is available to reduce or to remove the custodial sentence that has been put on him,” said its deputy secretary general, Jesse Duarte.

“In the view of the ANC, we respect the rule of law, we believe that the judiciary must be left to make its own decisions,” she told reporters following a special meeting of the ANC’s National Executive Committee on Monday.

“We would hope that comrade Zuma’s court application will be successful,” she added.

AFP