slippery slope

South Africa: Zuma’s ‘historic’ sentence took many by surprise

By Anna Maree

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Posted on June 30, 2021 16:21

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has given former president Jacob Zuma only two options after sentencing him to 15 months in prison for contempt: hand himself over to the police or face arrest.

Tuesday’s (29 June) judgement took many by surprise, not only because it was so stern, but primarily because Zuma had been battling the judicial system for 16 years after he was first formally implicated in corruption.

The historic sentence for the 79-year-old isn’t for graft, but for ignoring a court order that compelled him to testify before an inquiry on the large-scale corruption – or state capture – that took place during his presidency from 2009 to 2018.

The sentence “cannot properly capture the damage that Mr Zuma has done to the dignity and integrity of the judicial system of a democratic and constitutional nation,” said Sisi Khamphephe, the acting chief justice, as he read out the court’s majority judgement, that took just under an hour to deliver.

“He owes this sentence in respect of violating not only this court, nor even just the sanctity of the judiciary, but to the nation

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