July 25, 2021

Former South African President Jacob Zuma sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of justice

The South African Constitutional Court on Tuesday (June 29th) sentenced former President Jacob Zuma to fifteen months in prison for contempt of justice after his refusal to appear before an anti-corruption commission, ordering him to go to “The five days”.

“This kind of reluctance and challenge is illegal and will be punished”said Judge Sisi Khampepe. “I have no choice but to imprison Mr. Zuma, in the hope that this sends an unequivocal message (…) the rule of law and the administration of justice prevail. “ Seized by an anti-corruption commission, the highest court rendered this verdict “By a majority of its members”, said the magistrate.

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Zuma offended to be treated as an “accused”

Since the creation, in 2018, of the commission responsible for investigating generalized corruption during his nine years in power, Mr. Zuma, already implicated by some forty testimonies, has been stepping up the maneuvers to avoid having to go. explaining, piling up remedies or asserting one’s right to silence.

After yet another summons to which he did not appear, at the end of February, the commission called for a two-year prison sentence against the former head of state. The ex-president that time had not only ignored the commission, but also a January decision by the court, forcing him to appear and depriving him of the right to remain silent.

In a virtual hearing in March, commission lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said the question was no longer whether the ex-president should go to jail, but “How long has it been[eva]it y rester ». Mr. Zuma’s status as former president “Does not protect him from the law”, he hammered. A few weeks later, in a rather unusual request, the South African justice asked the ex-president to determine for himself “The appropriate sanction”, in anticipation of Tuesday’s hearing.

Jacob Zuma, 79, testified only once before the anti-corruption commission, in July 2019. He quickly slammed the door, taking offense to being treated like a ” accused “. Stuck in scandals, he was forced to resign in 2018. He was replaced by the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who made the fight against corruption a battle horse … but was himself called to testify before the commission in April.

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The World with AFP