South African court to hear ex-president’s jail appeal

Former President Zuma has denied corruption charges against him, saying politically motivated

South Africa’s highest court has agreed to hear former President Jacob Zuma’s request to quash a 15-month prison sentence.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court found him in contempt for defying his order to appear in a corruption investigation.

Mr. Zuma had until midnight Sunday to surrender.

It is not clear whether the court’s agreement to hear the appeal against its own decision affects the time limit.

The Constitutional Court said it received Mr Zuma’s appeal request on Friday and would consider the case on July 12.

In the meantime, the Jacob Zuma Foundation, the charity of the former president, said an appeal against the arrest order would be heard by the High Court of KwaZulu-Natal province on Tuesday.

The 79-year-old was ousted in 2018, after nine years in power, amid corruption allegations.

Businessmen have been accused of conspiring with politicians to influence the decision-making process.

But Mr. Zuma has repeatedly said he was the victim of a political conspiracy. He also refused to cooperate with investigations of wrongdoing during his tenure.

The former president only testified once during the investigation into what became the “state capture”, but then refused to appear.

Supporters dance outside the rural home of former South African President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla on July 3, 2021

Crowds of Zuma supporters gathered outside a rural house in Nkandla this week

In a separate legal case, Mr Zuma pleaded not guilty last month in his corruption trial involving a $ 5 billion (£ 3 billion) arms deal in the 1990s.

Crowds of supporters have gathered outside his home in KwaZulu-Natal province – many hoping to make sure he doesn’t get out of jail.

Political tensions have escalated in South Africa this week, with members of a veterans association threatening to destabilize the country if Mr. Zuma is apprehended.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), which Zuma previously led, has called for calm. But fearing a confrontation with Zuma’s followers, he postponed a meeting of his national executive committee this weekend.

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