South Africa: Ex-South African President Jacob Zuma Turns Himself in to Serve Prison Sentence

South Africa's former president, Jacob Zuma, turned himself into police early Thursday morning to begin serving a prison sentence for contempt of court.

Prison authorities confirmed that Zuma "has been admitted to start serving a 15 months sentence at Estcourt Correctional Centre" in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Television aired live footage of his motorcade entering the facility some 200 kilometres away from his Nkandla homestead at around 1am local time.

Zuma, who was forced out of office in 2018, had refused to obey a court order to appear before a commission investigating corruption during his nine years in power.

The Constitutional Court, the country's highest court, issued a judgment of contempt of court last week, and he had mounted a last-ditch legal defence, requesting the court suspend its arrest orders until all legal processes were finalised.

The Court had instructed police to arrest Zuma by midnight on Wednesday. Hundreds of his supporters, some armed, had gathered nearby at his homestead to try to prevent his arrest.

At the weekend Zuma declared he was prepared to go prison, even though "sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic, at my age, is the same as sentencing me to death."

Just minutes before the deadline expired, Zuma's foundation tweeted that he had "decided to comply with the incarceration order".

This is the first time a former president has been jailed in post-apartheid South Africa. The case has also set a benchmark for the continent, by jailing a former head of state for refusing to respond to a corruption probe.

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