Johannesburg: The South African Constitutional Court on Tuesday found former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to a 15-month jail term.
A BBC report says that Zuma has been given five days to hand himself to the police.
The country’s State Capture Inquiry accused Zuma of accepting bribes, gratification and unauthorised payments from other parties in relation to the procurement of the arms worth billions in 1999.
Zuma’s time in power, which ended in 2018, was dogged by graft allegations.
Businessmen along with politicians were accused of conspiracy in influencing the decision-making process.
The former President made one appearance at the inquiry into what has become known as “state capture” but then refused to appear subsequently.
The inquiry headed by Justice Raymond Zondo asked the Constitutional Court to intervene.
Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe was damning in her ruling.
Zuma refused to come to the court to explain his actions, she said, and he “elected instead to make provocative, unmeritorious and vituperative statements that constituted a calculated effort to impugn the integrity of the judiciary.
“I am left with no option but to commit Zuma to imprisonment, with the hope that doing so sends an unequivocal message… the rule of law and the administration of justice prevails.”
Zuma was not in court to hear the majority ruling and has repeatedly declared that he was the victim of a giant political conspiracy.
In a separate legal matter, the former President pleaded not guilty last month in his corruption trial involving a $5bn (£3bn) arms deal from the 1990s.