The ANC has hailed former President Jacob Zuma for his “brave and hard decision” to hand himself over to begin his 15-month prison sentence.
The SA Police Service (SAPS) took Zuma to the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday night in compliance with a Constitutional Court order.
Supremacy of the constitution
In a statement on Thursday, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party “notes and respects” the ex-President’s decision to comply.
“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, amongst the founding principles and values of the Republic of South Africa,” he said.
“Without a doubt, this is a difficult period in the movement and we call upon all our members to remain calm. Former President Jacob Zuma’s decision to abide by the incarceration order was truly a brave and hard decision to make. We wish him well.”
The Constitutional Court found Zuma guilty of contempt of court last week and gave him five days to report to SAPS to start his sentence, failing which SAPS must arrest him within three days.
The five-day deadline lapsed on Sunday and SAPS had until midnight on Wednesday to execute the order. A convoy with Zuma left his Nkandla residence about 45 minutes before midnight.
A statement by the Department of Correctional Services confirmed that the ex-President was now at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.
“Mr Zuma will be taken through all the admission processes as per regulations. Other relevant prescripts pertaining to admitting and orientating newly incarcerated persons will also be followed and executed,” the Department’s spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.
“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.”
Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola was set to brief the media about processes surrounding Zuma’s imprisonment on Thursday at 12h30.