South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has handed himsef in to police to begin serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court.
Police admitted him to Estcourt Correctional Centre in his home town – the province of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday. Police had earlier warned that they are prepared to arrest him if he refuse to hand himsef to them by midnight.
Court sentenced Zuma, 79, to jail term last week afta he failed to attend a corruption inquiry.
The sentencing sparked a legal drama in the country, with deadline imposed for midnight on Wednesday (22:00 GMT) for the arrest of the former president. The court handed him the deadline after he refused to hand himsef in on Sunday.
In a short statement, the Zuma Foundation said the former president has “decided to comply with the incarceration order” and hand himsef in to prison authorities.
His daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, later wrote on Twitter saying her father is “on his way [to jail] and he is still in high spirits”.
No former president in South Africa has faced a prison sentence before.
Zuma was sentenced on 29 June after he went against instructions to give evidence in an inquiry about corruption during his nine years in power.
The Guptas, a South African business family were accused of conspiring with politicians to influence the decision-making process when he was in office. But Zuma had repeatedly clamed to be a victim of political conspiracy.
Though his own party forced him out of office in 2018, the African National Congress (ANC), he still retains a body of loyal supporters, especially in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
On Sunday, crowds formed what they called a human shield outside Zuma’s palatial home as part of efforts to stop his arrest. Similar crowds gathered before he handed himself in on Wednesday.