Johannesburg, Aug 6 (EFE).- Former South African President Jacob Zuma, who has been in prison since early July for contempt of court for refusing to testify on corruption charges, was admitted to hospital on Friday for “medical observations,” prison authorities said.
In a statement, the South African Department of Correctional Services said that after a routine check up, Zuma was transferred for hospitalization outside of the prison.
“As a former president, Zuma’s medical care needs require the involvement of the South African army health services,” the statement added.
Zuma has been in prison since July 7 after turning himself in minutes before a deadline imposed by the court for his arrest, after he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of court for refusing to testify on corruption charges.
The former South African president’s decision to turn himself in came after several days of uncertainty and failed attempts by his legal team to delay the former president’s imprisonment.
Zuma, 79, had been convicted in June by the country’s Constitutional Court for repeatedly refusing to comply with court orders requiring him to testify before an official commission investigating alleged corruption during his presidency (2009-2018).
The controversial former ruler believes that this investigation – known in South Africa as the “State Capture” – and the judge leading it want to destroy his legacy.
Zuma ignored the subpoenas even after the Constitutional Court specified that they were mandatory, triggering the “contempt” proceedings, which he also refused to cooperate with.
He is the first former democratic-era South African president to be imprisoned since the end of the segregationist “apartheid” system (1994).
Two days after his imprisonment, several days of riots and mass looting spread across South Africa which, although they began in the form of protests in support of the former president, later degenerated into mob violence, spurred by the country’s serious socio-economic problems.