Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
2 Jul 2021
9:55 am

Zuma to appeal unappealable prison sentence – report

Citizen Reporter

The former president, his family and legal team have been working hard to figure out how to avoid him becoming the ConCourt's first prisoner.

Former president Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Picture: Kim Ludbrook /AFP

Despite the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) this week making it clear that President Jacob Zuma will not be allowed to appeal his 15-month prison sentence, that appears not to have deterred his legal team, led by advocate Dali Mpofu.

News24 reports that they intend to file an urgent application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to stay his arrest, which was meant to happen by this weekend, along with the filing of an urgent application for rescission of the apex court’s judgment.

The publication has also reported that Zuma is likely to be imprisoned at Westville prison in Durban.

Earlier this year, Zuma had told the ConCourt that he would be willing to become its first prisoner. He also declined an offer from the chief justice to give input on what his punishment should be if found guilty of contempt.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation has, however, now described the ConCourt judgment sentencing the former president to 15 months behind bars as “judicially emotional,” angry and inconsistent with the country’s Constitution.

In a statement late on Wednesday the foundation accused the court of failing to act independently and without bias.

On Tuesday, the court made a landmark ruling and sentenced the country’s former president to 15 months after finding him guilty of contempt of court.

Zuma had refused to abide by its order to return to the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture to testify before it.

The foundation has denied the remarks of Justice Sisi Khampepe, when she handed down judgment, that Zuma had attacked the Constitutional Court.

“The majority judgment makes a spurious claim that our patron attacked the Constitutional Court, which is false,” said foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi.

Manyi described this as a lie and suggested the justices relied on gross slander to convict and sentence Zuma unfairly.

“The characterisation of our patron by the majority panel paints a picture of a very angry panel of judges. We concur with the view of other justices who said the Constitutional Court majority acted contrary to the rule of law.

However, the minority judgment had in fact also found that Zuma had been in contempt, with the only difference being a preference for a suspended prison sentence.

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Zuma was granted five days to hand himself over to the police in Nkandla or Johannesburg, failing which Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole would have to act to arrest him.

Zuma’s supporters have massed at Nkandla, in breach of Covid-19 disaster regulations, to support the former president, with the possibility looming that they will use violence to prevent his arrest.

His children have joined the protest, with the level of angry rhetoric increasing with every day.

Compiled by Charles Cilliers