It's official: Jacob Zuma has been jailed
Former president Jacob Zuma was taken to the Estcourt prison at about 1.30am and would go through admission processes, the correctional services department said
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-month 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,” said spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.
“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 safe and secure custody remains cardinal to correctional services and we remain committed to this cause.”
The statement came about two hours after Zuma handed himself over to police.
The Constitutional Court last week sentenced the former president to 15 months in jail after it found him guilty of contempt of court. He had disobeyed the apex court’s judgment that he had to appear before the state capture inquiry.
On Thursday, both national SAPS spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo and police ministry spokesperson 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”.
'Still in high spirits'
Just before 1.30am on Thursday, the same convoy that departed from Zuma's homestead about two hours earlier was seen arriving at 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 Jacob Zuma 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 KwaZulu-Natal. A full statement will be issued in due course,” the foundation said.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party had noted that Zuma had handed himself over.
“The ANC 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, among the founding principles and values of the Republic of SA.
“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 the eight-vehicle motorcade left the Zuma family's Nkandla homestead at about 11.15pm on Wednesday.
Sources confirmed at the time 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 he had left the homestead. One of the family members said Zuma would 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.
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”, KwaZulu-Natal's newest correctional facility.
The R387m Estcourt prison was opened in 2019 and has a hospital section, training centre, maintenance workshop, among others. Comprising two sections, the prison can accommodate just more than 500 inmates.
The departure of the convoy came shortly after a private ambulance that was initially turned away from 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, Edward Zuma approached his window. In a conversation, part of which TimesLIVE overheard, the driver said he was here “for Mr Zuma”, to which Edward replied: “Who sent you?”
A private ambulance #DaymedMedicalServices attempts to get through the gates of Zuma's home in #Nkandla. The driver tells Zuma's eldest son, Edward, that he is here for his father. Edward sends the driver and the convoy away, saying someone must inform him first @TimesLIVE pic.twitter.com/XWNwcuRJaf— Orrin Singh (@orrin417) July 7, 2021
Edward sent the ambulance away, saying he had to 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 had told journalists that his dad was “in SA” and was in good spirits.
He was leading supporters at the homestead as the clock ticked towards the midnight deadline for police to arrest Zuma after his conviction for being in 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 not be allowed entry.
Earlier in the day, Edward had vowed that there would be bloodshed if his father was arrested.