A South African court has sentenced Jacob Zuma, a former President, to 15 months in prison.
Sisi Khampepe, the Deputy Chief Justice, declared that Zuma was guilty of contempt of court. According to court records, the former President defiantly refused to appear before a graft panel when he was President. The panel was probing corruption at the time.
In 2018, the ruling party ousted Zuma over corruption scandals. In January 2021, the Constitutional court ordered him to testify before investigators. However, Zuma snubbed the orders.
Consequently, commissioners moved to court seeking that Zuma is jailed for two years for disobeying court orders.
79-year-old Jacob Zuma faces charges of plundering state coffers during his tenure in office. Shortly before his ouster, Zuma set up the inquiry after being pressured over the scandal. However, he only testified once in 2019.
Despite several invitations to reappear and testify, Zuma failed to show up. Instead, on several occasions, he claimed he was either sick or preparing for another corruption trial.
Zuma also refused to participate in the contempt of court proceedings. Instead, he wrote a letter to the Chief Justice claiming that the proceedings were humiliating and an “atmosphere of judicial hostility”.
It is still unclear whether officials will arrest the former President and commit him to jail.