Johannesburg, Jun 29 (PTI) The apex court in South Africa on Tuesday sentenced the country’s former president Jacob Zuma to 15 months’ imprisonment for contempt of court after he walked out of hearings of the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture in November last year and refused to return to it.
The court also said that the sentence could not be suspended.
The Commission, which is investigation allegations of corruption and bribery at state and parastatal institutions, had asked that Zuma be sent to prison for two years.
Zuma has repeatedly said that he would rather go to jail than cooperate with the Commission.
In a strongly worded majority judgment handed down on Tuesday morning by Justice Sisi Khampepe of the Constitutional Court, she described Zuma’s statements as “outlandish” and “intolerable”.
“The Constitutional Court holds that it is disturbing that (Zuma), who twice swore allegiance to the Republic (of South Africa), its laws and the Constitution, has sought to ignore, undermine and in many ways destroy the rule of law altogether,” the judge said.
“The Constitutional Court went to great lengths to safeguard Zuma’s rights. Consequently, there is no sound nor logical basis on which Zuma can claim to have been treated 'unfairly or victimised', the judge said.
“His attempts to evoke public sympathy through unfounded allegations fly in the face of reason and are an insult to the Constitutional dispensation for which so many women and men fought and lost their lives.
The majority finds itself faced with little choice but to send a resounding message that this kind of recalcitrance and defiance is unlawful and will be punished,” Khampepe said. PTI FH MRJ MRJ