SA wakes up to strengthened democracy: Zuma's arrest welcomed

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said Jacob Zuma's arrest sent a strong message to the world and to his supporters, that South Africa wouldn't allow impunity no matter who you are.

FILE: Jacob Zuma takes an oath during his inauguration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 May 2009. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Jacob Zuma's incarceration is seen as a turning point for South Africa and a warning sign for his supporters in the African National Congress (ANC).

In a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday night, just before the midnight deadline given by the Constitutional Court, Zuma was driven by convoy to the Estcourt Correctional Centre to start his 15-month jail term.

READ: Former President Jacob Zuma in dates

He was sent to jail for being in contempt of court over his refusal to appear before the state capture commission.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation on Thursday said Zuma's arrest sent a strong message to the world and to his supporters, that South Africa wouldn't allow impunity no matter who you are.

The foundation's CEO Sello Hatang said he believed this was a turning point for South Africa.

“Our leaders will now take note and help us along to make sure that we keep this moment in the history books but not only there, let each one of us try and write our ways,” Hatang said.

At the same time, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution's Lawson Naidoo said not only is the country's democracy intact but was bolstered overnight.

“Despite the bluster and the threats of defiance, the former president was finally delivered to a correctional facility. South Africa wakes up this morning with our democracy hugely strengthened by the developments,” said Naaidoo.

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Political Analyst Prince Mashele said this should be a warning sign for Zuma's supporters, who were now left out in the cold, that their day could come too.

“All the rogue elements in the ANC that used to run behind Zuma, now have running stomachs. They have no one to champion their course and they will have to face their individual fates.”

Mashele said Zuma's incarceration showed that a former president could be arrested without a single bullet being fired.

“This is a historic moment; it is pregnant with important lessons for our young democracy.”

He said it served as a warning for others that the country's laws were not up for negotiation.

But where does it leave the ANC today? Mashele said the party was in better shape on Thursday morning.

“The biggest champion of chaos, Jacob Zuma, is now behind bars.”

The Jacob Zuma Foundation said it would not be participating in any media engagements for the best part of the day Thursday as its spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi reflects on what he called the tragedy that had just happened.

The Former President's daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla tweeted on Wednesday night after Zuma was taken into custody that the former president was in "high spirits".

WATCH: Zuma's convoy leaves Nkandla

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