Zuma prison photos
Govt appalled by distribution of prison photos of Jacob Zuma. Image: SANews

A criminal case has been opened after a camera SD card containing photos of the former President Jacob Zuma being admitted at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal was stolen.

The former statesman, 79, was sentenced to 15 months in jail on 29 June for defying an instruction to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power. He began his incarceration this week.

On Thursday afternoon, photographs of what appeared to be the former President being admitted, were circulated on social media.

“It has come to the attention of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) that images were stolen from a camera of the official who had been assigned to take photos for institutional filing purposes.

“The SD card was removed from the camera and the matter is highly sensitive and is being investigated by both SAPS and DCS. The official involved has also been contemplated with a suspension notice,” said the department in a statement.

The first aspect of the internal investigation has revealed that this SD card may have been shared with a known broadcaster.

The department said it will be approaching the relevant institutions for further action.

“We are appalled by the distribution of these images on social media and we urge people to refrain from sharing them. DCS condemns in strongest possible terms such action and will leave no stone unturned in bringing to book those behind it.”

Meanwhile prisoners at Estcourt correctional facility have gone on hunger strike in support of Zuma’s release.

However, according to legal journalist Karen Maughan “Former President Jacob Zuma‘s urgent bid to stay his arrest (has just been) dismissed by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. He will remain behind bars.”

Sources: SAnews.gov.za