Activists in Uganda have heaped praise on South Africa’s judicial system following the start of Jacob Zuma’s jail term. They say the case demonstrates the rule of law.

There’s been both applause and admiration for the South African justice system for the landmark court decision. The civil activists SABC News spoke to say Zuma’s incarceration shows the strength of the rule of law in the southern African country and the kind Uganda itself should learn from.

The former South African president started his 15 months sentence for contempt of court this week.

Zuma had earlier launched an appeal against his imprisonment.

“South Africa’s Constitutional Court is the most powerful constitutional court in Africa. It was set-up by ANC. So you abuse your own institutions! Once its your time to appear to them then they become incompetent, biased. Questions of bias are raised within courts. So he denied himself a chance to be heard,” says the Executive Director at the Centre for Constitutional Governance, Sarah Bireete.

Uganda’s Anti-Coalition’s Executive Director, Cissy Kagaba, is also impressed.

“The reason I say they are dealing with these matters better than us is because the institutions have tried to be independent. It’s always very difficult to draw a line. We always talk about the doctrine of separation of powers but again the line is very narrow and I think they have tried,” explains Kagaba.

SA’s judicial system praised:

Activists in Uganda say, the key lesson is the creation of an independent judicial structure; something that’s still a challenge for many African governments. – Report by Leon Ssenyange