Former South African President Jacob Zuma Arrested

Former South African President Jacob Zuma Arrested

The former South African President Jacob Zuma turned himself over to police on July 8th, 2021, to begin serving a 15-month prison term.

Why is Zuma going to prison?
The former President Zuma, 79, was ordered to prison by the Constitutional Court for contempt. Zuma refused to testify before a judicial commission investigating widespread allegations of organized crime in government during his term as president of South Africa, from 2009 to 2018. The judicial inquiry into organized crime in government during Zuma's term as president heard damaging testimony from former Cabinet ministers and top executives of state-owned corporations. According to the testimony, Zuma manipulated Cabinet appointments and lucrative contracts with members of the criminal Gupta family. The Constitutional Court found him in contempt of court for refusing to appear before an investigative commission and sentenced him to prison for refusing to appear.

Begging for mercy
Hundreds of his supporters gathered at his home over the weekend and vowed to prevent his arrest but were dissuaded from doing so and left. Zuma also applied to the Constitutional Court to have his sentence rescinded, and his case will be heard on July 12. Attorneys for Zuma requested, in a last-minute plea to avoid going to prison, that his arrest be postponed until a regional court can rule on his request. Zuma's attorneys also asked the acting chief justice to block the arrest of the police, claiming the arrest would put his life at risk. Upon receiving his sentence last week, Zuma had also sought to avoid arrest by filing two legal actions.

Other crimes
On a separate issue, Zuma is standing trial for organized crime-related charges, alleging corruption during a 1999 arms deal, in which he allegedly accepted bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales. In that case, his financial adviser has already been convicted and imprisoned. In 2006, Zuma was acquitted of rape charges dating back to 2005 after the court found the sexual encounter to have been consensual. Years later, Zuma became President in 2009 until he was forced from office in 2018 due to his administration's involvement with organized crime and rampant corruption.

Hero to zero
Zuma was previously known as an anti-apartheid hero and even helped resolve communal violence issues that were threatening to collapse South Africa. But after years in politics and a series of criminal cases associated with him, he has fallen from grace and has gone from hero to villain.

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