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South African court orders former President Jacob Zuma to jail for contempt

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JOHANNESBURG: Former South African President Jacob Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months in prison for defying a court order to appear before an investigation investigating broad corruption allegations during his term from 2009 to 2018.
Zuma did not appear in court for the ruling on Tuesday and was ordered to surrender within five days to a police station in his hometown of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province or in Johannesburg.
This is the first time in South African history that a former president has been sentenced to prison.
The country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, ruled that Zuma defied an order from the country’s highest court by refusing to cooperate with the commission of inquiry, which is chaired by Supreme Court Vice President Raymond Zondo.
“The Constitutional Court holds that there can be no doubt that Mr. Zuma is in contempt of court. Mr. Zuma received the order and it is impossible to conclude anything other than that he was unequivocally aware of what was required of him, “said the president of the interim court Sisi Khampepe.
He added that in determining the jail sentence for Zuma, the court could not conclude that he would comply with any other order.
“Mr. Zuma has repeatedly reiterated that he would rather be imprisoned than cooperate with the commission or comply with the order issued,” Khampepe said.
Zuma has previously expressed unwillingness to appear before the commission, which has so far heard evidence directly implicating Zuma in wrongdoing.
In an earlier 21-page letter written to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, which the court has described as “scandalous”, Zuma stated that he was ready to be sent to prison.
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