June 29, 2021


The highest court in South Africa has sentenced ex-President Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison. He was charged and found guilty of contempt of court for defying an order to appear in court.

Zuma was trying to avoid being charged for a slew of allegations of corruption during his time leading South Africa. The former president held office from 2009 to 2018. The ruling was made on Tuesday, but Jacob Zuma was not present in court for the decision.

After the court made its decision, it was announced that Jacob Zuma would have to turn himself in within five days in his hometown of Nkandla. Nkandla is in the KwaZulu-Natal province of the nation.  

There are doubts that he will turn himself in after not appearing in courts multiple times. However, Zuma’s punishment will be magnified if he does not abide by the court order.

Jacob Zuma Finally Going Behind Bars in South Africa

There has already been a contingency plan established if Jacob Zuma does not turn himself in to the authorities. If he refuses, the South African minister of police and police commissioner have been ordered to detain him within three days.

This is the first time in South African history that the president has been sentenced to prison. If he would have conformed, Jacob Zuma would probably be given a lightened punishment for the allegations during his time in office.

A court does not want to sentence a former president, but Jacob Zuma gave them no choice but to establish dominance. Many politicians have been happy with how the court has handled the former president.

Herman Mashaba, the former mayor of Johannesburg, was one of the leaders who was ecstatic about Zuma heading to jail.

He said:

“Finally, Jacob Zuma will find himself where he belongs…behind bars. This is indeed a victory for all South Africans that have become gatvol (fed up) with those who have looted our country with impunity. The judgment is equally a victory for the rule of law in South Africa, once again serving to highlight the independence of our judiciary. This is a central pillar of our hard-won democracy.”

The Charge from the Apex Court

South Africa’s apex court or Constitutional Court is the equivalent of the Supreme Court in the United States. They ruled that Jacob Zuma defied an order by the country’s highest court. He did not cooperate with the inquiry.

The deputy chief justice of the court is Raymond Zondo, and the acting chief justice is Sisi Khampepe. These two spoke to the media after the decision was made to put Zuma behind bars.

Khampepe felt that it was disrespectful that Zuma did not respond to the court-appointed order. A prison sentence was not a decision that anyone wanted to make in the apex. However, Jacob Zuma’s track record proves that he will likely not follow anything that did not end in a prison sentence.

By Zuma not showing up, he is validating his scandal accusations. Zondo and Khampepe believe that he would respond to a demand from the highest court in the country if he were innocent. Jacob Zuma is also on trial for charges related to bribery from 1999, so he is dealing with multiple issues.

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