Jacob Zuma: South African court to hear ex-president’s jailing appeal

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionFormer President Zuma has denied the corruption charges against him, saying they're politically motivated

South Africa's highest court has agreed to hear former President Jacob Zuma's application to have a 15-month jail sentence rescinded.

On Tuesday the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt for defying its order to appear at an inquiry into corruption.

Mr Zuma was given until midnight Sunday to hand himself in or face arrest.

Despite his appeal, Mr Zuma remains at risk of arrest if he does not meet the Sunday deadline, analysts say.

Hundreds of the former president's supporters have gathered outside his homestead in Nkandla, vowing to form a human shield to prevent the country's police service from effecting his arrest.

And the BBC's Nomsa Maseko, outside Mr Zuma's home, says his legal team is working around the clock to keep Mr Zuma out of prison.

The Constitutional Court said it would consider Mr Zuma's the case on 12 July, and in the meantime, an appeal against the arrest order is expected to be heard by the high court of KwaZulu-Natal province on Tuesday.

Speaking to supporters, Mr Zuma warned of "a messy confrontation" if police tried to arrest him. He alleges the courts are being used to settle political scores.

"The fact that I'll be spending the night at my home means my lawyers are defending democracy," he added.

The 79-year-old political veteran was ousted in 2018 after nine years in power, amid corruption allegations.

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Businessmen were accused of conspiring with politicians to influence the decision-making process.

But Mr Zuma has repeatedly said that he is the victim of a political conspiracy. He has also refused to co-operate with investigations into wrongdoing during his tenure.

The former president testified only once at the inquiry into what has become known as "state capture" but then refused to appear subsequently.

In a separate legal matter, Mr Zuma pleaded not guilty last month in a corruption trial involving a $5bn (£3bn) arms deal from the 1990s.

Supporters' gathering illegal under Covid laws

By the BBC's Nomsa Maseko, Nkandla

image copyrightGetty Images

"A messy confrontation would've ensued if police dared to arrest me", said Jacob Zuma to hundreds of his supporters who erupted in loud cheers and whistling.

His supporters dressed in Zulu traditional outfits, others in ANC T-shirts with his face on them, have been camping outside his home in Nkandla to form a human shield to prevent him from being arrested ever since the courts ruled Mr Zuma should be jailed.

The gathering by his supporters is actually illegal under the country's level 4 regulations aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

But there are no police officers in sight to disperse the gathering, leading many to say that the former president is above the law and that justice is not seen to be done when it comes to powerful politicians.

Mr Zuma has repeatedly told his supporters that he doesn't fear imprisonment, but behind the scenes his legal team is working around the clock to keep him out.

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