South Africa's ex-leader Jacob Zuma could be out of jail in 4 months

Former South African president Jacob Zuma

Former South African president Jacob Zuma sits in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg on July 27, 2018 for his hearing over 16 corruption charges. 

Photo credit: File | AFP

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma, who on Thursday began a 15-month sentence for contempt, will be eligible to be released on parole in just under four months, the authorities said.

Under the country's correctional regulations, "the former president will be eligible for parole once a quarter of his sentence has been served," Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told reporters.

Zuma "will be afforded dignity throughout his term of incarceration," he said, speaking in front of Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Zuma handed himself in overnight to the police to begin serving the sentence at the jail, which is located in a small farming town.

The sentence was handed down by the Constitutional Court on June 29 after Zuma refused an order to appear before anti-graft investigators.

Zuma, who is in "good spirits" will be placed in isolation for the first 14 days in jail in line with Covid-19 protocols, the minister said, adding that he would not receive "any special treatment."  

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