It's official: Jacob Zuma has been jailed

Former president Jacob Zuma was taken to the Estcourt prison at about 1.30am and was set to go through admission processes, the correctional services department said.

Former president Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma has officially been jailed.

The correctional services department confirmed at 1.50am on Thursday that Zuma had “been admitted to start serving a 15 months sentence at [the] Estcourt Correctional Centre”.

“Mr Zuma will be taken through all the admission processes as per [department] regulations. Other relevant prescripts pertaining to admitting and orientating newly incarcerated persons will also be followed and executed.

“Details about the appropriate classification, prerogatives and incarceration conditions can only be determined at the completion of the assessment process to be undertaken by relevant authorities within the employ of [the department].

“Keeping inmates in a safe and secure custody remains cardinal to correctional services and we remain committed to this cause,” said spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo.

The statement came about two hours after Zuma handed himself over and was in police custody.

Both national SAPS spokesman Brig Vish Naidoo and police ministry spokeswoman Lirandzu Themba confirmed the news.

Naidoo said: “I can confirm that the former president has been taken into police custody well ahead of the deadline.”

Themba tweeted that Zuma was “placed in SAPS custody in compliance with the Constitutional Court order”.

As the ANC called for calm in the wake of the latest developments, Zuma it appeared that Zuma had been transferred into correctional services custody. Just before 1.30am on Thursday, the same convoy that departed Zuma's homestead about two hours earlier was seen driving into the Estcourt facility.

The former president's daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, tweeted that she had spoken to her dad while he was “en route”, and that he was “still in high spirits”.

“He said that he hopes they still have his same overalls from Robben Island and we laughed hard that at least he won’t struggle with Afrikaans this time round,” she tweeted.

The JZ Foundation also confirmed in a statement just before midnight on Wednesday that the former president had decided to comply with the incarceration order”.

“He is on his way to hand himself into a correctional services facility in KZN. A full statement will be issued in due course,” the foundation said.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said the party had noted the fact that Zuma had handed himself over.

“The African National Congress 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 and values of the Republic of South Africa.

“Without doubt this is a difficult period in the movement and we call upon our members to remain calm and respect the decision taken by former president Jacob Zuma to abide by the rulings of the court,” he said.

The foundation statement came about 45 minutes after an eight-vehicle motorcade pulled out of the Zuma family's Nkandla homestead about 11.15 on Wednesday night. Sources had confirmed that Zuma was in one of the vehicles.

One source close to the situation said “it's definitely him”, while two Zuma family members also confirmed that the former president had left the homestead. One of the family members said Zuma was going to hand himself over to authorities.

However, Edward Zuma, the former president's son, denied that this was the case. Another brother, Khanya Zuma, also denied it and laughed.

The convoy left in the direction of Kranskop rather than towards Eshowe, a road that leads to Estcourt.

A short while later, staunch Zuma backer Carl Niehaus also left the homestead. He ignored questions over whether Zuma was still at home or had left in the convoy.

Newzroom Afrika was reporting that roads were closed and there were “heavily armed police spotted at the Estcourt prison”, the newest correctional facility to have been built in KwaZulu-Natal.

The R387m Estcourt prison was opened in 2019 and has a hospital section, training centre, maintenance workshop, among others. Comprising of two sections, the prison can accommodate just over 500 inmates.

The departure of the convoy came shortly after a private ambulance that was initially turned away from former president Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead on Wednesday night was later allowed to enter through the main gates.

At about 10.30pm, the ambulance, with Daymed Medical Services branding, pulled up to the gates and was met by Zuma's supporters.

After the driver pulled up to the gate, Zuma's son, Edward Zuma, approached his window. In a conversation, part of which TimesLIVE was able to overhear, the driver said he was here “for Mr Zuma”, to which Edward replied: “Who sent you?”

Edward quickly sent the ambulance away, saying he must be notified first. The ambulance then left the area.

However, about 30 minutes later arrangements were made for the ambulance to enter the property.

Earlier, Edward told journalists that his dad was “in SA” and was in good spirits.

Edward was leading the supporters at the homestead as the clock ticked towards the midnight deadline for police to arrest Zuma after his conviction for contempt of court last week.

As the deadline loomed, Edward, who was brandishing a stick, instructed the handful of supporters gathered at the homestead to move vehicles and park them in such a way that they were partially blocking the entrance to the home.

He said that he had been told police were on their way from nearby Eshowe. However, he said that while the SAPS convoy might not be stopped en route, it would be stopped at the gate and not be allowed entry.

Earlier in the day Edward vowed that there would be bloodshed if his father was arrested.

This is a developing story.



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