Former President Jacob Zuma sought to have his contempt jail sentence overturned, arguing that it would endanger his health.
South Africa’s highest court has ruled that former President Jacob Zuma failed to have his 15-month jail sentence overturned for failing to attend a corruption investigation.
The ruling came in June after Zuma failed to testify in an investigation investigating corruption during his nine-year rule, seen as proof of post-apartheid South Africa’s ability to enforce the rule of law, particularly against powerful politicians. .
Zuma, recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed illness, asked the court in July to overturn his contempt sentence, arguing that it was excessive and that jail would endanger his health and life.
In a majority decision on Friday, the Constitutional Court rejected their arguments.
“The termination request is dismissed,” Judge Sisi Khampepe said when reading the majority decision, which included an order for Zuma to pay the costs.
It was the latest legal setback for the 79-year-old anti-apartheid veteran of the ruling African National Congress, whose presidency from 2009 to 2018 was marred by widespread accusations of corruption and embezzlement. Hey denies any wrongdoing.
“Obviously, the foundation is disappointed with this judgment,” Mzwanele Manyi, a spokesperson for the JG Zuma Foundation, said in response.
Zuma’s imprisonment on July 7, after turning himself in to the police at the last minute, sparked violent riots, looting and vandalism in South Africa, killing more than 300 people and costing businesses billions of South African rand.
His successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, described the unrest as an orchestrated attempt to destabilize the country and vowed to crack down on the alleged instigators.
The violence was also fueled by latent frustration among predominantly black communities that still lived in miserable conditions long after the ANC came to power in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.
A former high-ranking intelligence agent of the then banned military wing of the ANC uMkhonto we Sizwe before ascending to the highest office, Zuma says he is the victim of a political witch hunt and that acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, it is partial.
Zondo served as chair of the graft research.
The department of correctional services placed Zuma on medical probation earlier this month after surgery following his hospitalization in August. That decision is being contested by the opposition Democratic Alliance.
Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, corruption and extortion related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was vice president.
He is accused of taking bribes from one of the companies, the French defense giant Thales, which has been accused of corruption and money laundering.