They’ll have to kill me first before arresting him, says Zuma’s son Edward

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday sentenced the former president to 15 months in jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court.

The crowd who gathered to support former President Jacob Zuma is seen reflected in his glasses as he waits to speak after appearing on corruption charges at the Durban High Court on 6 April 2018. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/Eyewitness News.

DURBAN/JOHANNESBURG - Extraordinary, notable and shocking. These three words have come up multiple times in Tuesday’s ruling in the wake of former President Jacob Zuma’s sentencing.

The Constitutional Court sentenced the former president to 15 months in jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court.

Zuma had refused to appear before the state capture commission of inquiry after complaining that its chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was biased against him.

After months of back in forth between Zuma, the commission and the apex court, judgment was handed down on Tuesday morning.

Reaction to the judgment was quick.

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In KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma's home, his family and supporters have stood by him.

His son Edward said police would have to kill him before they arrested his father.

There was little activity at the KwaDakudunuse homestead on Tuesday afternoon, with just a few men clad in MKMVA regalia guarding the main entrance.

Edward Zuma, who addressed the media, said his family was yet to meet and discuss its response to the Constitutional Court's ruling against his father.

But he said he would not allow the police to arrest Zuma: “I will lay down my life for President Zuma. They will not take him while I am alive, they will have to kill me first.”

However, earlier on Tuesday, one of Zuma's daughters tweeted that her father would be handing himself over at the Nkandla police station.

Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla tweeted, “Just spoke to my father. He is in high spirits and has no fear.”

Zuma-Sambudla told her social media followers “lockdown or no lockdown, they will be escorting Zuma to serve his time.”

Some residents in Nkandla also condemned the court's decision.

Patrick Dawn said they wanted mass demonstrations against the ruling.

“We must show that we are not in support of this because it’s a disgrace to justice.”

All eyes will remain on the former president to see what his next move will be.

SHELL SHOCKER FOR ANC

The judgment has been nothing more than a shell-shocker of a day for the ANC.

Zuma, a much-loved figure within the organisation, has finally had his day of reckoning – at least in this battle against the highest court in the land.

Zuma’s staunch supporters including MKMVA and long-time ally Carl Niehaus are not having it.

Another ANC leader close to Zuma, ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini, questioned Zuma’s sanction, warning that courts should stay out of politics.

She also referred to the embattled leader as a man of peace, saying he would want cool tempers during this period.

“He is a very peaceful person and I think he would not want things to go haywire.”

Analysts Richard Calland and Daniel Silke also shared their thoughts on the development, with Calland arguing that Zuma played a political game.

“He was rude, he was offensive; he [came] for the integrity of the court and the court was then put into a corner.”

Silke said Tuesday’s judgment assisted in cementing the rule of law in the country.

"It will perhaps restore some faith in matters relating to holding those accountable for transgressions in whatever form or other.”

Zuma has five days to hand himself over to the police.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Former President Zuma & state capture: A timeline

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