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Zuma conviction unconstitutional, says his foundation

The foundation representing South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma, sentenced to 15 months in jail for defying a top court this week, on Wednesday condemned the judgement as unconstitutional.

In an unprecedented ruling, the Constitutional Court on Tuesday convicted Zuma for “egregious” and “aggravated” contempt of court after he refused to comply with an order to appear before graft investigators.

The verdict triggered a show of support from the dwindling numbers of Zuma’s still fervent supporters, some of whom made their way to his rural home in the eastern town of Nklandla to express their solidarity.

If Zuma fails to turn himself in by Sunday, police will be ordered to arrest him and take him to prison.

The ex-president’s foundation on Wednesday described the jail sentence as “emotional”, “angry” and “not consistent with our constitution”.

“The Constitutional Court majority acted contrary to the rule of law,” the Jacob Zuma Foundation said in a late-night statement, adding that lawyers would soon provide “legal advice on the options available”.

Zuma, 79, is accused of having enabled the plunder of state coffers during his nine years in office, which ended in February 2018 when he was forced out by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Before he left office, he responded to mounting pressure by setting up an investigative commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

He was ordered on Tuesday to be jailed after years of failing to testify before the commission.