Jacob Zuma has become the first South African president to be jailed after the Apartheid rule following him turning into prison on Thursday to begin serving his 15month sentence of contempt of South Africa High court.
According to prison authorities, Zuma has been admitted at Estcourt Correctional Centre located in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal
His turning himself in after days of refusing to do so brought an end to an impasse that had gripped the country, which is also battling a brutal third wave of COVID-19.
South Africa’s highest court ordered the imprisonment of Jacob Zuma, the country’s former president, for 15 months on contempt charges, after he defied an order to appear before a corruption inquiry examining the breathtaking financial scandals that tainted his tenure as the country’s leader from 2009 to 2018.
Police had earlier on Wednesday warned they were prepared to arrest Zuma by a midnight deadline to enforce the ruling, unless the top court instructed otherwise.
Just minutes before the deadline expired, his foundation tweeted that Zuma had “decided to comply with the incarceration order” and hand himself to a correctional facility.
A convoy of cars believed to be carrying Zuma drove out of his homestead at high speed about 40 minutes before the cut-off time.
Zuma’s daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla tweeted that he was “still in high spirits” and that “he said that he hopes they still have his same overalls from Robben Island… We salute dad!”
He had pleaded with the court for an 11th-hour reprieve, requesting that it suspend its arrest orders until all legal processes were finalized — under the ruling, police were given three days to arrest him if he failed to surrender.