Former South African President Zuma Visits Russia for Health Reasons

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Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma, who was removed from office in 2018 due to corruption charges and faces prosecution in multiple cases, is currently in Moscow for medical treatment, according to his spokesperson’s statement on Friday, following a court decision the previous day affirming that he should be imprisoned.

Mzwanele Manyi, the spokesperson, stated that the 81-year-old Zuma “traveled to Russia last week for health reasons and will return to the country once his doctors have completed his treatment.”

Manyi defended the trip, which was made on a commercial flight, stating that it was private but not secretive. His statement came in response to leaks in the local press regarding Zuma’s trip. It is worth noting that Zuma was in Zimbabwe on July 7th, representing a Belarusian group at a conference on carbon credits.

On Thursday, South Africa’s highest court reaffirmed that Zuma should serve a 15-month prison sentence for contempt and rejected an appeal seeking leniency.

The court’s decision is not expected to have an immediate effect. The correctional services stated that they would study the judgment and seek legal opinion before taking any action on the matter.

Zuma was sentenced in June 2021 for repeatedly refusing to cooperate with a commission investigating corruption during his presidency from 2009 to 2018. His initial imprisonment led to several days of riots that claimed the lives of over 350 people.

He was later released on parole after two months due to medical reasons, with no further details provided about his health condition.

During his presidency, Zuma had close ties with Moscow. In general, South Africa-Russia relations date back to the apartheid era, with the Kremlin providing support to the African National Congress (ANC) in their fight against the racist regime.

Soukaina Sghir

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