South Africa’s top court rejects Zuma’s bid to overturn sentence

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South Africa’s top court has ruled that former President Jacob Zuma had failed in his bid to have his 15-month jail sentence for failing to attend a corruption inquiry overturned.

The sentence was handed down in June after Zuma failed to testify at an inquiry probing corruption during his nine-year rule, seen as a test of post-apartheid South Africa’s ability to enforce the rule of law, particularly against powerful politicians.

Zuma, recuperating in hospital after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed illness, asked the court in July to revoke its sentence for contempt arguing it was excessive, and that jail would endanger his health and life.

In a majority decision on Friday, the Constitutional Court rejected his arguments.

It was the latest legal setback for the 79-year-old anti-apartheid veteran from the ruling African National Congress, whose presidency between 2009 and 2018 was marred by widespread allegations of corruption and malfeasance. He denies wrongdoing.