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South Africa: Jacob Zuma confirmed to be in jail at Estcourt prison facility

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Justice Ministry

Former South African president Jacob Zuma has been confirmed to be in jail at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.

The embattled former president was brought to the fairly new correctional facility to start his 15-month sentence in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola told journalists that he had seen Zuma. "I have seen him, he is in very good spirit and he has taken his breakfast, he's taking his medication. And then he is, as I said, we spoke and I also told him that I'm going to tell the nation that he is here in this facility. And he said it's important that this country must know. So he's in very good spirits."- Lamola said.

The Estcourt Correctional Center is located in KwaZulu-Natal province about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from his rural home in Nkandla. The facility, which opened about two years ago, consists of two units, and has a capacity to accommodate 512 inmates.

It also has a hospital section, training centre, maintenance workshop, logistics and other support structures.

"If we wanted the former president to stay in a hotel and in a highly privileged area, we would have taken him to the hotel. In Carradine, there in the south coast, or we would have taken him to one of our beautiful guest houses, breathtaking in the Western Cape where you can even see the sea. But the policies and the Correctional Services Act is clear. He must be incarcerated where is declared and in a correctional facility, in terms of incarceration."  the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola explained.

79 year old Zuma was convicted and sentenced for defying a court order to testify before a judicial commission investigating widespread allegations of corruption during his 2009-2018 presidency.