South Africa’s high court orders ex-president back in prison

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s high court has ordered former President Jacob Zuma back to prison, after overriding an earlier decision to release him on medical parole, a court verdict sentencing on Wednesday.

The 79-year-old man began parole in September and is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, after he ignored instructions to join a corruption investigation.

In the same month, South Africa’s highest court rejected Zuma’s request to overturn the sentence.

The legal proceedings against him for alleged corruption during his nine years in power are seen by many as a test of South Africa’s post-apartheid rule of law, particularly against powerful, well-connected people.

Zuma turned himself in on 7 July to begin his prison sentence, sparking the worst violence South Africa has seen in years as his angry supporters took to the streets.

The protests expanded into looting and anger erupted over the predicament and inequality that persisted in South Africa 27 years after apartheid ended. More than 300 people were killed and thousands of businesses were looted and razed.

Zuma’s legal organization is appealing the latest court ruling, his foundation said.

“The judgment is clearly wrong and there are prospects that a higher court will reach a completely different conclusion,” the foundation wrote on Twitter.

The Department of Correctional Services said it is studying the ruling and will make any announcements later.

Zuma’s presidency from 2009-2018 was marred by rampant accusations of graft and wrongdoing, and he faces a separate corruption trial over his sacking. fired as vice president in 2005 when he was implicated in a $2 billion government arms deal.

The trial against Zuma, which has dragged on for years, with multiple charges including corruption, fraud and money laundering, is expected to resume next year.

He denies wrongdoing in all cases and says he is the victim of a political witch hunt aimed at marginalizing his side in the ruling African National Congress. The party only said that it had received the verdict.

Reported by Nqobile Dludla; Written by Tim Cocks; Edited by James Macharia Chege and Hugh Lawson


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