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South African Jacob Zuma convicted of contempt of court docket, decide says

Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign as South African president in 2018

A South African decide has mentioned he needs ex-President Jacob Zuma sentenced to jail for not showing earlier than him to answer corruption allegations.

Mr. Zuma, 79, ignored a summons to look earlier than a fee of inquiry chaired by Decide Ray Zondo.

The decide mentioned Mr Zuma’s problem might result in lawlessness and he would ask South Africa’s highest court docket to convict the ex-president for contempt.

Mr Zuma mentioned he believed Decide Zondo was biased towards him.

He had beforehand requested the decide to step down as chair of the inquiry.

Decide Zondo denied the request and mentioned he was doing his job impartially.

At the very least 40 witnesses implicated Mr. Zuma in corruption.

Among the many allegations made towards him was the truth that throughout his tenure he allowed the rich Gupta household to plunder state sources and affect political and ministerial appointments.

Mr. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

The Constitutional Courtroom dominated final month that Zuma was required to look earlier than the fee.

Military veterans show their support for former South African President Jacob Zuma as they march past his home in Nkandla, South Africa on February 15, 2021Military veterans show their support for former South African President Jacob Zuma as they march past his home in Nkandla, South Africa on February 15, 2021
Mr. Zuma’s supporters say they will not enable him to go to jail

After his non-appearance on Monday, Decide Zondo mentioned everybody was equal earlier than the regulation and that if Mr. Zuma was allowed to problem the courts, it could have profound implications for democracy.

Mr. Zuma has not commented because the decide’s ruling, however beforehand mentioned he was not afraid of going to jail.

However a few of his supporters, wearing army fatigue, marched previous his rural house, vowing to guard him.

Mr Zuma was pressured to step down as president in 2018 after being dogged by corruption allegations all through his nine-year tenure.

His successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, took workplace with the promise to deal with the issue.

“ Extraordinary contempt of the regulation ”

Analysis box by Andrew Harding, Africa correspondentAnalysis box by Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent
Evaluation field by Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent

In a unprecedented show of disregard for the rule of regulation in South Africa, the previous president defied each a authorized summons and a ruling by the nation’s Constitutional Courtroom.

As a substitute of responding to dozens of corruption allegations introduced towards him by witnesses throughout a public inquiry, Mr. Zuma selected to remain in his rural house, guarded by supporters who mentioned they might combat for forestall his arrest.

The inquest decide – quietly livid – mentioned he would now search jail time for Mr Zuma for contempt of court docket.

It might be a very seismic second for this younger democracy.

Some might dismiss Mr Zuma’s problem as an act of desperation by a disgraced politician already dealing with a number of corruption prices.

But it surely’s a risky time for the ruling African Nationwide Congress (ANC) in South Africa.

Different highly effective figures additionally concerned in corruption are mounting a retaliation, with Mr. Zuma’s blessing, searching for to regain management of the occasion – and the nation – as soon as once more.

President Ramaphosa continues to be broadly revered right here. However the ANC’s energy struggles might but overthrow him.

With its financial system within the grip of a pandemic and the combat towards corruption removed from gained, South Africa faces daunting challenges.

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