South Africa’s highest court found former President Jacob Zuma, who served as South Africa’s President from 2009 to 2018, guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison on Tuesday. The order stems from Zuma’s refusal to appear at an anti-corruption commission to answer questions about his alleged involvement in corruption during his time as president. The former president testified only once at the inquiry into what has become known as “state capture” but then refused to appear subsequently. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ordered that Zuma present himself at a police station in his home town of Nkandla or Johannesburg within five days or the police minister must order his arrest. “No person is above the law … whatever his rank or condition,” Judge Sisi Khampepe said.
The former president repeatedly declared that he was the victim of a giant political conspiracy. Jacob Zuma stepped down from the presidency in February 2018. He was controversially charged with corruption and fraud, and additional charges of money laundering, racketeering, and tax evasion were brought against him. Zuma remained a popular figure. During his term as president, Zuma was involved in continental affairs, taking a role in mediation efforts to resolve crises in Africa on behalf of the Southern African Development Community or African Union, including those in Zimbabwe, Libya, and Côte d’Ivoire.