South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, will immanently hand himself over to serve 15 months in prison for contempt of court, his foundation said Wednesday, the first indication Zuma is willing to serve his jail term.
The constitutional court last week sentenced Zuma to 15 months in prison for ignoring an instruction earlier this year to testify in an investigation into corruption during his nine years in power until 2018.
“President Zuma has decided to comply with the detention order. He is on his way to hand himself in to a correctional facility in KwaZulu-Natal,” his foundation said in a statement on Twitter.
Dear South Africans and the world. Please note that President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order. He is on his way to surrender himself to a correctional facility in KZN. A full statement will be issued in due course.#WenzenuZuma
— JGZuma Foundation (Official) (@JGZ_Foundation) July 7, 2021
The 79-year-old Zuma had until the end of last Sunday to report. Police had been ordered to arrest him before the end of Wednesday if he failed to do so.
South African TV channels showed images of Zuma’s motorcade leaving his home in the town of Nkandla, although no one could confirm whether he was in it or not.
The authorities’ response to Zuma’s lack of cooperation with the investigation so far – following years of corruption and sleaze allegations – is seen as a test of South Africa’s post-apartheid ability to implement the rule of law.
Zuma denies any widespread corruption under his leadership and on Sunday took a defiant tone, comparing the judges who convicted him to the white apartheid rulers he once fought.
His lawyers asked the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to suspend the police order to arrest him before midnight pending the outcome of his appeal against a prison sentence.