Following the incident in which former president Jacob Zuma walked out of the Zondo Commission, the constitutional court, on Tuesday, ruled against the former president, found him guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison. In addition, the court ordered that Zuma hand himself over to the police, either in Nkandla or in Johannesburg, failing which the police have three days in which to effect an arrest.
In passing judgement, the Acting Chief Justice Sisi Kampepe said that if individuals decide which order to respect and which to defy, then the constitution is not worth the paper on which it is written. She added that if Zuma does not hand himself over to the police, Police Minister Bheki Cele and the Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole have three days to take all the steps necessary to ensure that Zuma is jailed.
Many political parties and other interested groups welcomed the ruling by the Acting Chief Justice saying that it was a victory for the rule of law in South Africa and that it showed that nobody was above the law in the country. “The Commission views the judgement as one of great importance for the rule of law, the principle of equality before the law and the primacy of the constitution and the protection of our constitutional democracy,” said Itumeleng Mosala, the secretary of the Zondo Commission, adding that it was also significant in that it underlined the independence of the judiciary.
Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma took to Twitter to announce that she had spoken to her father and he had indicated that he would be handing himself over to Nkandla Police before the five days elapsed. She added that her father was not in fear at all and that he was in good spirits. “Just spoke to my father, …, is in high spirits and has no fear. We have a choice between serving our time in Jhb or Nkandla … Of course, we have chosen to be close to home. Lockdown or no lockdown, we will escourt (sic) you to serve your time,” she said in the tweet.