South Africa: Former President  Jacob Zuma sentenced to 15-month prison term for contempt of court

South Africa's top court on Tuesday handed former president Jacob Zuma a 15-month jail term for contempt of court following his refusal to appear before graft investigators.


The jail sentence comes after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt for defying its order to appear at an inquiry into corruption while he was president.

"The Constitutional Court can do nothing but conclude that Mr Zuma is guilty of the crime of contempt of court," judge Sisi Khampepe said. "This kind of recalcitrance and defiance is unlawful and will be punished," Khampepe added.

He has been ordered to present himself to police within five days so he can be committed to a correctional facility.


In a separate legal matter, Mr Zuma pleaded not guilty last month in his corruption trial involving a $5bn (£3bn) arms deal from the 1990s. He is accused of accepting bribes totalling four million rand from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales.

This is the first time in South Africa’s history that a former president has been sentenced to prison.


"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", Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe said.

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