South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has handed himself in to police to begin serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court.
Prison authorities confirmed that Zuma “has been admitted to start serving a 15 months sentence at Estcourt Correctional Centre” in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
It is the first time a former president has been jailed in post-apartheid South Africa.
Police had warned that they were prepared to arrest him if he did not hand himself in by midnight.
Zuma, 79, was handed the 15-year jail term last week after he failed to attend a corruption inquiry.
Zuma was sentenced on 29 June for defying an instruction to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power. He has testified only once at the inquiry into what has become known as “state capture” – meaning the siphoning off of state assets.
Businessmen have been accused of conspiring with politicians to influence the decision-making process while he was in office. But Zuma has repeatedly said that he is the victim of a political conspiracy.
Though he was forced out of office by his own party in 2018, the African National Congress (ANC), he retains a loyal body of supporters, especially in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
His daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, later wrote on Twitter that her father was “en route [to the jail] and he is still in high spirits”.