Jacob Zuma: Supporters form ‘human shield’ to stop ex-president’s arrest

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Supporters of South African ex-President Jacob Zuma have formed what they say is a human shield outside his home to try to prevent his arrest.

On Tuesday, the constitutional court found him guilty of contempt for defying its order to appear before a corruption inquiry.

A deadline for his arrest had been set for midnight on Sunday.

However, the constitutional court later agreed to hear his challenge to the 15-month jail term he was given.

Just how that affects the arrest deadline is unclear.

“[There is] no need for me to go to jail today,” Mr Zuma, 79, told reporters outside his home in Nkandla in Kwa-Zulu Natal province on Sunday.

“Sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic, at my age, is the same as sentencing me to death,” he added.

He said he had been “lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial” and that “South Africa is fast sliding back to apartheid rule”.

One supporter, Lindokuhle Maphalala, told AFP news agency that if the police chief came to arrest Mr Zuma “he must start with us”.

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