Former South African president, Jacob Zuma has handed himself over to the police and has now been admitted to prison to serve his 15-month sentence for being in contempt of court.
The Department of Correctional Services confirmed on Thursday that the former President was admitted to the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal to begin serving his time.
“Mr Zuma will be taken through all the admission processes as per DCS regulations. Other relevant prescripts pertaining to admitting and orientating newly incarcerated persons will also be followed and executed,” the department said in a statement.
Mr. Zuma has said that the apartheid government treated him better than the current one after he was last week found guilty of contempt of court.
The verdict was delivered by the country’s constitutional court after he failed to appear and participate at the state capture inquiry.
He had until last Sunday to hand-over himself to authorities to be processed for prison but Mr. Zuma had said he won’t do that.
He told journalists that he had always fought against injustices and was surprised he was sentenced to prison “without trial”.
Mr. Zuma said going to jail without trial was something he fought against during the white-minority apartheid rule.
“Sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic at my age is the same as sentencing me to death,” he said.
The former president said he believed courts were being used by his political opponents to settle scores.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation said on Wednesday night that the former leader was arrested at 11:47 pm.
“Dear South Africans and the World. Please be advised that President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order. He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN. A full statement will be issued in due course,” it said in a tweet.
Dear South Africans and the World.
Please be advised that President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order.
He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN.
A full statement will be issued in due course.#WenzenuZuma
— JGZuma Foundation (Official) (@JGZ_Foundation) July 7, 2021
Mr. Zuma is still fighting his sentence in court as he urges the justices of the apex court to reconsider their ruling through a rescission application.
That legal action however doesn’t automatically stay his arrest. Mr. Zuma is also at the High Court in an attempt to stay out of prison.
Judgment by the Pietermaritzburg High Court has been reserved until Friday.
His daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, wrote on Twitter that her father was “en route [to the jail] and he is still in high spirits”.
Just spoke @PresJGZuma en route and he is still in high spirits. He said that he hopes they still have his same overalls from Robben Island and we laughed hard that at least he won’t struggle with Afrikaans this time round. We salute dad! Amandla ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽!!! pic.twitter.com/ooLngCSDXg
— Dudu Zuma-Sambudla (@DZumaSambudla) July 7, 2021
Mr. Zuma since leaving office in 2018 has been facing several corruption allegations and had appeared before a commission investigating the state capture scandal.
The scandal involves businessmen accused of conspiring with politicians to influence the decision-making process.
Zuma made one appearance at the inquiry in 2019 but then refused to appear subsequently.
The inquiry headed by Justice Raymond Zondo then asked the Constitutional Court to intervene.
The court said Zuma is not an ordinary litigant and since he is a former president, he wields a lot of political power.