Former South African President Jacob Zuma has turned himself into police as he prepares to begin a 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
Police Ministry Spokesperson Lirandzu Themba confirmed late on Wednesday that Zuma was in the custody of the South African Police Service, after his foundation announced that he had decided to comply with an incarceration order issued by the Constitutional Court.
The former president was sentenced on June 29 to 15 months behind bars after failing to appear before a corruption inquiry centered on his time in office between 2009 and 2018.
After Zuma refused to hand himself in on Sunday, as initially ordered by the country’s highest court, his lawyers filed two bids to the courts to delay the execution of the arrest, and his supporters rallied outside his Nkandla residence in KwaZulu-Natal vowing to prevent police from accessing the former leader. The SAPS was given until Wednesday to arrest him.
“Please be advised that President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order,” the foundation said on Twitter late on Wednesday night.
“He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN.”
Zuma faces a litany of legal troubles, having also pleaded not guilty last month in a separate corruption trial focused on an arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president. He has long denied all allegations, claiming to be the victim of a political witch hunt.
Zuma was ousted in 2018 following internal discord among the ruling African National Congress, against a backdrop of public outrage over alleged corruption and mismanagement of state resources.
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture — or Zondo Commission — was established after an ombudsman report called for an investigation into possible improper contact between senior members of Zuma’s former administration and the three Gupta brothers, all of whom have denied wrongdoing. The Guptas fled South Africa upon Zuma’s ousting.