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Former South African President Zuma Sentenced to 15 Months in Jail

FILE — Former South African President Jacob Zuma, sits in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Wednesday May 26, 2021, at the start of his corruption trial. Judgement handed down Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in the Constitutional Court, has…

South Africa's constitutional court sentenced former president Jacob Zuma to 15 months in jail for contempt of court today after he failed to appear at a corruption inquiry earlier this year.

Zuma failed to appear at the inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in February, after which the inquiry's lawyers approached the constitutional court to seek an order for his imprisonment.

The inquiry is examining allegations of high-level graft during Zuma's period as president of South Africa from 2009 to 2018.

Zuma has rejected the charges and said he was the victim of a politically-motivated witchhunt by a rival faction of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). He has so far not cooperated with the inquiry.

Zuma has to appear before police within five days, the judge added.

The allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him - brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta - to plunder state resources and influence policy.

The Guptas, who also deny wrongdoing, left South Africa after Zuma was ousted in a move orchestrated by allies of his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa has been trying to restore investor confidence in Africa's most industrialised nation. However, he has faced opposition from a faction within the governing ANC party that is still loyal to Zuma.

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