The significance of Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment cannot be overstated.
The message it sends to both honourable and greedy civil servants is both encouraging and cautionary.
Just like his presidency gave many of his subordinates a licence to loot, his imprisonment should serve as a deterrent.
And despite the limited crisis posed by the violent protests from his myopically ardent supporters, his incarceration has avoided a much broader constitutional crisis.
Our former president may be serving time for contempt of court, but it is his general contempt that will be his lasting legacy.
His contempt for the legacies left by his democratic predecessors, his contempt for the dignity of the office he occupied, his contempt for honest service and his contempt for public opinion of the party he professes to serve.
There may well be a defence for his actions in the fact that he is a traditionalist, raised in a feudal society where the chief is the law and obtaining his favour by showering him with gifts, isn’t frowned upon.
But the ANC is the architect of our constitutional democracy, which we adopted to modernise the political landscape and which Zuma was a signatory to and therefore fully acquainted with.
He tried to tap dance around our legal system – of which he was a custodian – until the bitter end.
He employed various desperate tactics to delay, or even avoid, the inevitable.
It wasn’t seen as a fight for justice, but rather final proof of his sense of invincibility; a delusion that was finally shattered when the prison doors clanged shut behind him last week.
I’m sure there were no childish, dismissive giggles or signs of the general defiance he was known for.
Legacy is an important part of what presidents work on towards the end of their terms.
Ideally they want to be remembered for all the good they did – the progressive laws they passed; their fiscal excellence and the economic benefits they engineered, and so on.
Being jailed is the most undignified memory to be recorded in the history books and is a punishment in and of itself, assuming that is something that matters to Zuma.
I’ve heard many people speculate that he won’t stay inside for long.
Some have predicted weeks, others say less than three months, while some say he will spend all his time in the prison hospital, before being freed on compassionate grounds within days.
Some of this may well prove to be true, but none of it really matters.
His imprisonment is an important message to other public servants with their fingers in the public purse.
Those who took their cue from him, believing that they would get away with corruption and looting.
And when the Guptas are finally extradited, their trials will also be a message to thieves in corporate clothing of what awaits them when they’re caught.
And I do mean when, because our justice system finally appears to be focused on bringing the likes of them to book.
And they must know that correctional service officials won’t be as accommodating and respectful of them, as they were of Zuma.
They are more likely to get the stereotypical “pappa wag vir jou” reception.
I’m just sorry that pictures of Zuma being processed at the prison leaked onto social media.
The idea was not to humiliate him even further.
I reckon just the thought of him in handcuffs and prison overalls was more than enough to satisfy most South Africans.
While many see this as just reward for a decade of gluttonous self-enrichment disguised as a crippling ineptitude, it still pains me to have witnessed one of our democratically elected leaders being jailed like a common criminal.
It’s not something to celebrate, but should instead hurt us all as patriotic individuals, wishing only the best for our country and its leaders.
Many people had expressed the belief that South Africa had lost the global moral high ground after the passing of Nelson Mandela.
This proves that the morality of some of our leaders may well be questionable, but our judiciary is strong.
And this victory will only make it stronger.