Former South African President Jacob Zuma has been jailed for 15 months.
Zuma was on Tuesday found guilty of contempt by a Constitutional Court after he failed to appear at a corruption inquiry while he was president.
Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe after handing down the sentence instructed Zuma to appear at the Johannesburg Police Station for transfer to a correctional facility within five days.
Should he not submit himself to the police within the stipulated time, Khampepe instructed the Minister of Police and the National Commissioner of South African Police Service to take all steps necessary to ensure Zuma is taken to a correctional facility.
“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,” she ruled.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had asked that the former head of state be jailed for a period of two years.
In 2019 when Zuma first appeared before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, he spent hours on end declining to answer queries related to the graft allegations.
Then, Commission chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo gave him a week to return in November 2019.
In 2020, Zuma declined to appear before the commission citing health complications, his corruption trial and the most recent one, Covid-19.
In October 2020, the commission made an application for a subpoena seeking to make it a criminal offence for Zuma not to appear.
A subpoena was finally issued for the fourth president to appear on November 16 to the 20th of the same month. He was given the option to testify via video link.
On the material day, the former president declined to appear before the commission but was represented by his legal team that asked Zondo to recuse himself.
Zondo declined to recuse himself, prompting the defense team to exit before being excused.
As a result, the commission made an application to the Constitutional Court asking it to find that Zuma had violated the Constitution, and to issue an order compelling him to appear.
The highest court in the land granted the order in January 2021.
An irate Zuma likened the court to the apartheid-era and accused Zondo of making special rules for him alone.
Zuma did not show up.