South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma hands himself to prison

Former South African president Jacob Zuma who ruled between 2009-2018.Photo / South Africa's GCIS

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma turned himself in late Wednesday to begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, his foundation has announced.

In a historic ruling, the Constitutional Court last week handed Zuma a 15-month term for snubbing anti-graft investigators.

Police had earlier on Wednesday warned they were prepared to arrest the former president by their apex midnight deadline to enforce the ruling, unless the country’s highest court otherwise.

The apex ruling said that the police had three days to arrest him if he failed to surrender.

But Zuma decided to make his way to an unnamed jail in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

"Please be advised that (former) President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order," the foundation tweeted.

"He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN," it said, just minutes before the deadline expired.

The South African Police Ministry confirmed that former President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma was placed in South African Police Service custody as in compliance with the Constitutional Court judgement.

A convoy of cars that were believed to be transporting Zuma left the Nkandla homestead at high speed, seemingly headed to a nearby custody facility.

Zuma’s ally and friend Carl Niehaus - who has just been suspended as a member by governing poverty - took to social media to express how heartbroken he is about the situation.

He said:

“I am heartbroken and very angry. I will never forgive those who have allowed this to happen”

Niehaus has reportedly been supporting the former president publicly and visiting his Nkandla homestead to show his true loyalty.

Zuma's daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla tweeted that he was "en route and he is still in high spirits".

"He said that he hopes they still have his same overalls from Robben Island... We salute dad!" she wrote on Twitter.

According to legal experts, the former President was ordered to hand himself over to police on Sunday, July 4. However, he did not do so and is now in contempt of the contempt ruling given against him. 

Zuma had attempted to plead with the High Court of South Africa to block his arrest, to which the court agreed to hear his defence but scheduled their decision to two days later July 9.

He had pleaded with the court for an 11th-hour reprieve.

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