A 15-month prison sentence has been given to former South African President, Jacob Zuma for contempt of court, following his refusal to appear before graft investigators.
This was disclosed after the judgement delivered by Justice Sisi Khampepe on Tuesday, adding that he was accused of enabling the plunder of state coffers during his nearly nine-year stay in office.
Judge Sisi Khampepe said, “The Constitutional Court can do nothing but conclude that Mr Zuma is guilty of the crime of contempt of court.
“This kind of recalcitrance and defiance is unlawful and will be punished.
“I am left with no option but to commit Mr Zuma to imprisonment, with the hope that doing so sends an unequivocal message… the rule of law and the administration of justice prevails”.
“The majority judgement orders an unsuspended sentence of imprisonment for a period (of 15 months),” she declared, ordering Zuma to hand himself over within five days.
It would be recalled that the commission of inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was set up by Zuma himself, under pressure over mounting scandals, shortly before he was ousted in 2018 by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Zuma only testified once, in July 2019, before staging a walkout days later and accusing the commission’s Zondo of bias.
He then ignored several invitations to reappear, citing medical reasons and preparations for another corruption trial.