Former South African President Jacob Zuma turns himself in for a 15-month jail term.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma surrendered to the authorities on Wednesday to start serving a 15-month jail term for contempt of court. Zuma, who was forced out of office in 2018, was slapped with the jail term on June 29th by a South African judge for defying an instruction to provide evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his 9-year reign.

According to reports, police had warned that they were prepared to arrest him if he failed to hand himself in by midnight.  The 79-year-old ex-president, despite initially refusing to turn himself in, was yesterday admitted to Estcourt Correctional Centre in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

He will only be eligible for parole after serving 4 months of the jail term. His arrest has however sparked mixed reactions amongst South Africans and netizens as he has become the first former president to be jailed in the country.

Incarcerated Jacob Zuma to know his fate soon

The Pietermaritzburg High Court will deliver its judgment on former President Jacob Zuma's bid to stay out of jail, this morning.

Zuma turned himself in to police on Wednesday to begin 15 months in jail for contempt of court.

Zuma, who was meant to hand himself over to the authorities by Sunday, ignored the court order. Police were instructed to arrest him by Wednesday despite his legal bid to interdict them from executing the arrest.

On Tuesday, Judge Jerome Mnguni heard his application to stop the arrest but reserved his judgment to the end of the week.

During their arguments, opposition legal teams labelled Zuma as a “repetitive, recalcitrant lawbreaker”.

It was a long day of hearing arguments from the head of Zuma's legal team, Advocate Dali Mpofu, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi who represented the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and Advocate Max Du Plessis who represented the Helen Suzman Foundation that opposed the application with the commission's chairperson deputy chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Ngcukaitobi called on Mnguni not to be drawn into assisting Zuma to break the law by overturning a Constitutional Court ruling and pleaded with him to dismiss the case.

"It would be wrong for this court to impose itself midstream. There is no reason for Your Lordship to catch the bus midstream," Ngcukaitobi said.

Supporting the commission’s plea for the court to dismiss the matter, Advocate Du Plessis agreed that the court had no jurisdiction to stay an execution of order made by the apex court.

He said the High Court ruling on a Concourt decision "would amount to second-guessing the Concourt".

In a lengthy two-part argument, Mpofu said that it was actually "inappropriate" for the commission and the foundation to be part of this court proceedings.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma

"They already got their order.

"It's no skin off their nose as to when the applicant will be arrested," Mpofu said.

"What business is it of an NGO and some commission … to travel metaphorically to Pietermaritzburg to oppose," Mpofu said.

He said the issue of jurisdiction was "a red herring" and that the court had an inherent and national jurisdiction even of other courts and tribunals.

However, Mnguni said jurisdiction was the central point of this application.

If Mnguni grants Zuma’s application, he could possibly be released until his Concourt hearing on Monday.

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