“Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is sentenced to undergo 15 months imprisonment.”
The decision of South Africa’s Constitutional Court announced Tuesday by acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe in response to several trial no shows of the former president.
Jacob Zuma has now been found guilty of contempt of court as he continues to face corruption charges due to allegedly enabling the stealing of state funds during his almost nine years in office — of which he claims innocence.
In Cape Town, opposition politicians and passersby alike express their approval at the news when South Africa’s top court handed the country’s former president — Jacob Zuma, a 15-month jail term for “egregious” contempt of court.
Leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance party John Steenhuisen is happy with the ruling.
“Even when the democratic institutions failed the people, the constitutional court was the backstop. And I think that as long as you’ve got an independent judiciary and rule of law in South Africa, citizens can sleep easier at night knowing that their rights are protected and the country is insulated from politicians who want to abuse their power for the wrong reasons.”
Luvuyo Wiseman, a local business owner, echoes a similar sentiment.
“I am very happy it’s the first time a South African president can go to jail, it’s the first time. It was a shock for me, serious, it was a shock for me. No, no, no, I don’t feel shame about that. I’m cool about that.”
Nevertheless, it must be noted that not everyone is celebrating this unprecedented and historical moment met with mixed feelings by the general public and political class in South Africa.