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Jacob Zuma might be free in months after handing himself in

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma, whose resolution at hand himself in to police to serve a 15-month jail time period has been greeted as a victory for the troubled nation’s efforts to implement the rule of legislation, might be free in 4 months, the justice minister has mentioned.

The minister, Ronald Lamola, informed journalists exterior the jail the place Zuma was being held on Thursday that the previous chief could be eligible for parole both as a result of his sentence was lower than two years or for medical causes.

“This is not a moment of celebration or triumphalism, it is a moment of restraint and to be human,” Lamola said, promising to deal with Zuma like some other inmate.

Zuma handed himself in to police to serve a 15-month sentence for contempt of courtroom simply after midnight on Thursday morning, ending nearly every week of defiance from his homestead within the south-eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The 79-year-old’s resolution to desert his battle towards imprisonment averts a doubtlessly violent confrontation between his supporters and police, and can come as a aid to senior officers of the ruling African Nationwide Congress occasion (ANC).

The chance that he could be out on parole having served lower than a 3rd of his sentence will disappoint some, nonetheless.

The police ministry spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, confirmed Zuma was within the care of the police service, in compliance with a constitutional courtroom judgment, early on Thursday and jail authorities later confirmed he had been “admitted to start serving a 15 months sentence at Estcourt correctional centre” in his residence province.

It’s the first time a former president has been jailed in post-apartheid South Africa and will likely be seen as a landmark for the rule of legislation within the troubled nation, in addition to a victory for the president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa ousted Zuma, who confronted a slew of corruption allegations, in 2018 after taking up the management of the ANC the earlier yr.

The jailing of Zuma will additional strengthen the average and pragmatic faction of the ruling occasion, and considerably undermine the entrenched networks throughout the authorities and South Africa’s forms loyal to Zuma, analysts say.

“Jacob Zuma’s fate is but a symptom of a deep, dramatic power shift within the ANC,” wrote Stephen Grootes on the Every day Maverick information web site.

The constitutional courtroom sentenced Zuma final week for defying an instruction earlier this yr to provide proof at an inquiry into corruption throughout his 9 years in energy till 2018.

The inquiry is inspecting allegations that he allowed three Indian-born businessmen, Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, to plunder state sources and peddle affect over authorities coverage. He and the Gupta brothers, who’ve fled to Dubai, deny wrongdoing.

Zuma additionally faces one other case regarding a $2bn arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president. He denies the costs.

Police had been instructed to arrest him by the tip of Wednesday if he failed to show himself in. South African TV stations carried photographs of Zuma’s motorcade leaving his home and arriving on the correctional facility.

The previous president, who was beforehand imprisoned by the racist apartheid regime in energy in South Africa till 1994, had argued he had been sentenced to jail with out trial. He additionally informed courts and the media each that he was ready to go to jail and that he shouldn’t be imprisoned due to well being considerations.

Senior ANC officers had warned Zuma his defiance risked bringing the occasion into disrepute and so he confronted inside disciplinary proceedings. There was additionally anger at his supporters’ flouting of Covid-19 rules at a time when South Africa is struggling to regulate a 3rd wave of infections.

Supporters of the previous South African president Jacob Zuma rally in Nkandla on Wednesday.
{Photograph}: Rogan Ward/Reuters

The occasion, which has been hit by corruption scandals linked to Covid-19 spending and has been extensively criticised for its dealing with of the pandemic, known as for members to stay calm in a statement on Thursday.

“The ANC has always restated its unequivocal commitment to and defence of the constitution, in particular the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary amongst the founding principles of the republic of South Africa,” it mentioned.

Zuma got here to energy in 2009, picked by the ANC to reconnect the occasion with grassroots supporters after the rule of Thabo Mbeki, who was seen as distant and uncharismatic. Zuma, a former safety chief for the occasion, was jailed for 10 years on the Robben Island jail the place political prisoners together with Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu had been held.

Zuma’s daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla tweeted that he was “still in high spirits” and that “he said that he hopes they still have his same overalls from Robben Island … We salute dad!”

The Nelson Mandela Basis warned towards seeing Zuma’s arrest because the “end of the road”. “This is merely another phase in what we believe will be a long and fraught journey … It is vital that Zuma and his supporters be held accountable every step of the way,” the inspiration mentioned in a press release.

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