Former president Jacob Zuma relented late Wednesday and handed himself over to the police to begin his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.
Police had come out in their numbers to effect the arrest as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Last week the ConCourt convicted Zuma of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison. The court had given Zuma until Sunday to hand himself to the police and he did not do so.
The court order said in the event the former president did not hand himself over as ordered the police had until Wednesday to arrest him.
Even with supporters declaring they were ready to lay down their lives to prevent Zuma’s arrest, sense prevailed in the end.
Helicopters and a massive fleet of police cars had positioned themselves strategically and it was clear the game was up.
Just before the midnight deadline for police to act, the 79-year-old former president made his way from Nkandla.
At about 1.30am Thursday Zuma arrived in a convoy at the Estcourt Correctional Centre, a modern rehabilitation facility built in 2019 that houses about 500 offenders.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court was still to rule on Zuma’s request to stay a Constitutional Court arrest order.
Zuma has been afforded a hearing on Monday 12 July at the ConCourt.