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LIVE: Reaction to Jacob Zuma’s prison sentence

Former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

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The full bench heard arguments from the state capture inquiry in March after the former president refused to testify before it

Acting chief justice Sisi Khampepe handed down the Constitutional Court judgment in former president Jacob Zuma’s contempt of court case on June 29 2021.

The Constitutional Court found former president Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to a 15-month jail term, for his failure to comply with an order of SA’s apex court to testify before the state capture inquiry.

The full bench heard arguments from the state capture inquiry in March after the former president refused to testify before it. 

Zuma did not oppose the contempt of court proceedings and indicated no intention of participating in them.

While Zuma has been given until the weekend to hand himself over to police, reaction has been pouring in after the judgment

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald:

The judgment sends a loud and clear message that Zuma and everyone else in SA must realise that they are not above the law and that they must respect it. Zuma would do well to obey the ruling and to peacefully turn himself in to serve his punishment.

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) NEC Member, Carl Niehaus:

“As MKMVA, will oppose the imprisonment of [the president] as a matter of legal, political and revolutionary principle. We will use every legal avenue available to us to oppose Nxamalala’s imprisonment, and to register our outrage.”

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) research officer, Dan Mafora.

The decision a win for SA’s constitutional democracy. Zuma’s “flagrant disregard for the rule of law” warranted a 15-month prison sentence. “The court’s unambiguous order of direct imprisonment is proportional to the extraordinary act of contempt that Mr Zuma committed.”

Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi:

“It is shocking; President [Jacob] Zuma is now urgently consulting with his lawyers about the way forward.”

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa:

“This is a strong message that no-one is above the law and is a stern warning that all South Africans should respect the courts and the laws of this country.”

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa:

“This matter did not have to go this far, had the former president complied with the directive of the state capture commission. We hope that he will respect and honour this ruling, and comply with the order that he must submit himself to the police within the next five days.”

Defend our democracy

“We call on the former President and his supporters to respect and abide by the decision of the court. Moreover, we call on the criminal justice authorities to act on the judgment and ensure effective implementation thereof.”

Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage:

“[Zuma] displayed contempt for the state capture commission and the Constitutional Court, making a mockery of his publicly made oath as incoming president — twice — to uphold the constitution.”

DA leader John Steenhuisen:

“Long before Zuma was public enemy number one, we rang the alarm that Zuma was destroying democracy and subverting the constitutional order to enrich his friends and family. We call on Mr Zuma to co-operate with law enforcement agencies and to hand himself over to begin to serve the sentence.”

–Business Times

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