Breaking: Jacob Juma jailed

South Africa Former President

The South African Constitutional Court has sentenced former president Jacob Zuma to 15 months in jail for contempt of court after a series of corruption scandals.

Zuma faces another two years in prison relating to charges that he permitted the looting of public funds during his tenure.

However, he has repeatedly ignored requests to appear in court.

The court heard the contempt case in March and this morning Acting Deputy Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe found President Zuma guilty of contempt of court after defying an order to testify before a judicial panel investigating corruption during his nine-year rule.

“The Constitutional Court can do nothing but conclude that Mr Zuma is guilty of the crime of contempt of court,” ruled Justice Khampepe, saying Zuma was testing the strength of the judiciary system in the country.

Justice Khampepe justified her direct sentence, arguing that Mr Zuma was very likely to defy a suspended sentence – a further act of defiance that would only plunge the judiciary further into crisis. 

“This of course cannot adequately capture the damage that Mr Zuma has done to the dignity and integrity of the judicial system” she said.

Zuma has been ordered by the Judge to hand himself over at the Nkandla police station or Johannesburg. within 5 days in order to  start serving his prison sentence. Should he fail to do so, the Police minister and national commissioner have been empowered to drag him to the nearest correctional services centre.

The judgement has been hailed as victory for South Africa’s ailing democracy.

However, Zuma’s spokesperson has described the judgment as “a very sad day in South Africa”, saying President Zuma is shocked wherever he is.