Former South African president Jacob Zuma must return to prison. The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Thursday upheld a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling last year against Zuma, 81. The court then ruled that Zuma’s medical parole was unlawful.
Zuma was president from 2009 to 2015. The former head of state and leader of the ANC party was sentenced to fifteen months in prison in 2021 for refusing to cooperate in an investigation into corruption during his presidency.
Following his imprisonment, large-scale riots occurred in parts of South Africa, resulting in hundreds of deaths and more than 1,200 arrests. These were the most serious riots since the end of apartheid.
After less than eight weeks behind bars, Zuma was released for health reasons. That decision was made by Arthur Fraser, then head of the prison administration and Zuma’s confidant.
The former president refused to testify before the commission investigating corruption that took place during Zuma’s nine years of rule. He initially attended a hearing once, but after the first time he accused the committee chair of bias. The former president subsequently refused to appear before the committee again. The commission of inquiry was set up by Zuma himself, after he had come under increasing pressure as president due to corruption scandals.
During his presidency, Zuma would have closed lucrative agreements with friendly businessmen. Sometimes they would even be allowed to choose which ministers Zuma would appoint to his cabinet. According to estimates, 35 billion dollars (29.5 billion euros) of public money have been diverted. Zuma has always denied the allegations.
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