South Africa’s Constitutional Court is set to review the 15-month jail sentence handed to Jacob Zuma for contempt of court.
The former head of state, who has been in prison since Wednesday, is asking for the sentence to be overturned partly on the grounds of what he says is his frail health and the risk of contracting coronavirus.
The Pietermaritzburg court rejected these arguments on Friday and it remains to be seen whether his defence will change its strategy.
Shops were looted on Sunday and a major highway closed in Johannesburg as violent protests spread to the economic hub over the jailing of Zuma.
The violent protests had mainly been in the former South African leader’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where he began a 15-month sentence for contempt of court Wednesday night.
Police said some of those carrying out theft and damage were taking advantage of their anger at Zuma’s imprisonment.
On Sunday, protesters armed with sticks, golf clubs and branches were seen marching through Johannesburg’s central business district. There had been looting in the Alexandra township and Jeppestown suburb. More than 60 people have been arrested.
Zuma was given the jail term for defying an order from the constitutional court to give evidence at an inquiry that is investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in power until 2018.
He denies the corruption charges against him.