Zuma, accused of corruption, applied to the prison in his home province while the deadline for surrender was already knocking on the door.
South Africa former president Jacob Zuma has surrendered to the authorities to begin his 15-month prison sentence. Both the Zuma Foundation and the police have reported the matter.
Police had previously warned Wednesday that the ex-president could be arrested if necessary in order to keep to the midnight deadline. However, according to his foundation, Zuma decided to go to the prison in his home province himself when the deadline was already knocking on the door.
The ex-president was sentenced last week to prison for defying the court. The country’s Supreme Court handed down the verdict because Zuma had refused to appear before the judicial panel on suspicions of corruption.
Zuma was forced to resign as president in 2018 when a large portion of the ruling ANC turned against him. He was replaced Cyril Ramaphosa.
In May, 79-year-old Zuma was tried for corruption, money laundering and extortion. The suspicions relate to the large arms trade in the 1990s.
Zuma was vice president at the time of the suspected crimes. He is accused of taking bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales. Zuma denies the abuses.
Zuman had been scheduled to surrender as early as Sunday, but he had not done so. The court ordered police then had three days to arrest the ex-president if he did not surrender.
Just minutes before the deadline, the foundation tweeted that Zuma was on his way to a prison in KwaZulu-Natal province. A car convoy believed to be carrying Zumaa set off from the ex-president’s home late in the evening at a rapid pace.
Representative of the Ministry of Police Lirandzu Themba confirmed on Twitter that the authorities have taken Zuma into their care.
Zuma’s daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla in turn, tweeted that his father was “on the road and still in a hilarious spirit.”
“He said he hoped they still have the same overalls he wore on Robben Island,” he wrote of his father.
Read more: Former South African president sentenced to nearly one and a half years in prison for failing to appear for trial on corruption charges
Zuma had asked the court for an adjournment at the very last minute. His lawyers had asked the Constitutional Court late Wednesday to delay his order so that the ex-president would not be arrested until all legal proceedings involving him had been completed.
A hearing on Zuma’s first request to block his arrest was held on Tuesday, but the decision was postponed to Friday.
Zuma has also asked the court to reconsider its decision and revoke its detention order. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Stained despite his reputation, the former president has considerable influence among officials and grassroots members of the ANC.
Over the weekend, he had declared to his supporters that it would be followed by chaos if police “dared” arrest him.
Zuma was the ANC’s intelligence chief during the fight against racial segregation in South Africa and spent 10 years in the infamous Robben Island Prison.
The ANC has ruled South Africa throughout post-apartheid segregation. The party came to power in 1994 in the first post-apartheid election as a freedom fighter Nelson Mandelan under. Now the late Mandela was serving a prison sentence in the same Robben Island prison as Zumaki.
Despite its internal tensions, the ANC said it did not intend to interfere in the legal proceedings related to Zuma. Party representative Pule Made previously told reporters the party respects the independence of the judiciary.