South African court sentences ex-president for contempt to jail

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma was found guilty of contempt and sentenced to 15 month imprisonment for refusing to appear before a court inquiry into wide-ranging corruption allegations during his tenure between 2009 and 2018.

South African court sentences ex-president for contempt to jail

Zuma was not present at Tuesday's ruling and was ordered to surrender to police within five days in Nkandla, KwaZulu–Natal province, or Johannesburg.

Zuma must surrender within five days or South Africa's police commissioner and minister of police will take him into custody.

This is the first time that a former president of South Africa has been sentenced.

In reaction to the sentence, Herman Mashaba, an opposition politician, said that Zuma would finally find himself behind bars.

Mashaba, ex-mayor of Johannesburg and leader for ActionSA, stated in a statement that "this is indeed a victory to all South Africans who have become gatvol [fed up] with those who have looted the country with impunity." "The ruling is also a victory for South Africa's rule of law, once more highlighting the independence of our judiciary. This is a key pillar of our hard-won democracy.

South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma refused to cooperate with the inquiry commission, which is headed by Raymond Zondo, deputy chief justice.

"The Constitutional Court finds that there is no doubt that Mr. Zuma is disobedient to court. "Mr. Zuma was served the order, and it is impossible for us to conclude anything else than that he was unambiguously aware of what it required," stated Sisi Khampepe, acting chief justice.

She said that Zuma was not likely to comply with any other orders when he was sentenced to jail.

"Mr. Khampepe stated that Zuma repeatedly said he would prefer to be imprisoned rather than cooperate with the commission and comply with orders made.

Zuma previously stated his inability to appear before the commission. The commission has not yet heard any evidence that Zuma was involved in wrongdoing.

Zuma stated that he was ready for sentencing in a 21-page letter he wrote to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Zuma wrote that Zondo, the chairman of the commission, was biased against Zuma and that the evidence against him was political motivated in a letter he released to public.

Zuma has been implicated in corruption by former Cabinet ministers, high ranking government officials, and executives from state-owned enterprises.

Many have stated that Zuma allowed the Gupta family members to influence his appointments of cabinet ministers and lucrative contracts at state owned companies.

Zuma faces additional legal problems as he stands trial for bribery charges he received in South Africa's 1999 arms procurement agreement.

He has pleaded guilty and his lawyers applied for the resignation of the lead prosecutor in the case because of the alleged bias against Zuma.