DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Mozambique's insurgency: After Palma, what comes next?

South Africa: Zuma’s imprisonment marks important milestone for country’s constitutional democracy

By Carien du Plessis
Posted on Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:02

Former president Jacob Zuma addresses the press at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Natal Province, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma went to jail in his state-funded VIP convoy just before midnight on Wednesday 7 July. His convoy sped out of the gate of his rural homestead in Nkandla without as much as a greeting to his inebriated son, Edward, who had been standing guard outside with a wooden stick in his hand, flanked by journalists and a small group of Zuma's supporters.

There was none of the bloodshed that supporters in his volatile KwaZulu-Natal Province threatened to unleash days before. Zuma was taken into police custody with less than an hour to go until the deadline set by the constitutional court eight days earlier, where he was given a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

The populist and charismatic former leader led the governing African National Congress (ANC) for a decade and was president of South Africa for almost nine years, until 2018. He prided himself on being able to appeal to the downtrodden and attract crowds.