Zuma given five days to hand himself over to police

29 June 2021 - 12:42
By siviwe feketha AND Siviwe Feketha
Justice Khampepe sentenced Zuma to 15 months in prison.
Image: Thulani Mbele Justice Khampepe sentenced Zuma to 15 months in prison.

Former president Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to one year and three months of direct imprisonment after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt of its order to comply with directives of the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

This comes as the apex court delivered its precedent setting and watershed ruling on the application for an order of contempt against Zuma over his defiance to appear before the commission investigating allegations of state capture.

Zuma has now been directed to submit himself to the SA Police Service (SAPS) at Nkandla police station or Johannesburg central police station within five calendar days to be given a correctional centre where he will serve his sentence.

Delivering the ruling, acting deputy chief justice Sisi Kampepe said the court had sought a punishment that vindicated its authority and the rule of law while sending a message that court orders had to be obeyed.

“In determining the length of sentence, the majority has considered the unique circumstances of this matter, the nature of the breach and the extent to which the breach is ongoing. Not only Mr Zuma failed to dispute the contempt of court, he has also failed to contest the degree of the contempt. Instead, he has aggravated it,” Kampepe said.

Kampepe said a cohesive order compelling Zuma to finally attend the Zondo commission was futile as he had made it clear that he would continue his defiance against the highest court in the land.

The commission approached the court in December on an urgent basis to compel Zuma to take the stand and testify after he indicated that he would no longer obey its summonses or appear before it as he accused its chair, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo of being biased against him and urged that he recuse himself.

The court ruled on January 28, that Zuma was compelled to attend the commission and give evidence, but Zuma lambasted both the commission and the court of politicising the law in a bid to target him and vowed that he would no longer cooperate with the commission or obey the order of the apex court.

This prompted the commission to seek contempt of court proceedings against the former head of state.

Kampepe said Zuma owed the sentence to not only his deliberate and contempt against the highest court in the land but “to the nation he once promised to lead and to the Constitution he once vowed to uphold”.

Police minister Bheki Cele and national commissioner Kehla Sithole have been directed to ensure Zuma was presented into a correctional facility within three days in the event that he does not submit himself to the SAPS as directed.

In a further blow, Zuma has also been slapped with the cost order for the application.