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South African police refuse to arrest Zuma for contempt until litigation ends

Moscow: South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole have refused to arrest former President Jacob Zuma, who was sentenced last week to fifteen months in prison for contempt of court, until the litigation ends, the State Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday.

The prison sentence was delivered on June 29 after the former president repeatedly refused to appear at a corruption inquiry. The Constitutional Court also ordered Cele and Sitole to ensure Zuma was arrested, should he not turn himself in by the end of last week. After Zuma filed an appeal asking the court to annul its decision, the court agreed to hear him out. The Pietermaritzburg High Court is set to hear Zuma’s application for a stay arrest on Tuesday.

“In view of the unique situation presented by the developments and the legal matrix involved, our clients will, out of respect [for] the unfolding litigation processes, hold further actions they are expected to take in terms of the honourable court’s orders in abeyance, pending the finalisation of the litigation,” the State Attorney’s office said, as cited by the News24 portal.

The 79-year-old former president is currently under investigation over corruption that allegedly flourished during his presidency from 2009 to 2018. He was forced out of power in 2018 amid a sprawling corruption scandal.

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