LIVE FEED: ConCourt rules on former president Jacob Zuma rescission application
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Johannesburg - Former President Jacob Zuma will know on Friday whether his application to have his jail term rescinded is successful or not.
This, as the Constitutional Court will hand down its long-awaited judgment after hearing oral and written arguments from all parties involved.
“Judgment on Friday, 17 September at 10h00: Is the judgment and order of the Constitutional Court, sentencing former President Zuma to imprisonment for contempt of court, rescindable? And should it be set aside? (JG Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission and Others),” the court announced on Thursday.
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The matter was first heard by the court on July 12 this year, four days after Zuma had started serving his 15 month sentence at the Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma and his lawyer had earlier approached the Pietermaritzburg High Court to interdict the SAPS from arresting him, but the late Judge Jerome Mnguni dismissed his application, saying he had no powers to rule on the case from a higher court. They then dashed to the Concourt.
In his ConCourt application, Zuma and his legal team argued that his jailing for 15 months at the Estcourt prison for contempt of the same court which had defied its instruction to appear before the State Capture Commission, was unlawful.
Among another host of reasons advanced by Zuma’s legal team, led by Advocate Dali Mpofu SC and Advocate, Thabani Masuku SC was that he was jailed without a trial.
Although the application was on an urgent basis, the apex court withheld its ruling, forcing Zuma to eventually surrender to begin serving his sentence on July 8.
Later, the court asked all parties involved to file supplementary affidavits and urge whether Zuma’s jailing violated international law or not. Zuma’s lawyers urged that a litany of international laws were violated and asked the court to free him.
On the other hand, the State Capture Commission, chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo and those in support of it, urged that no international law was violated and Zuma’s jailing was fairly carried out.
It remains to be seen how the court will rule as Zuma is already out on medical parole, granted to him on September 5 this year.
Meanwhile, Zondo has since applied to the North Gauteng High Court to have the life span of the State Capture Commission which chairs, extended from September 31 to December 31 this year.
Zondo said he never anticipated that there would be delays in their work as his team worked long hours to finish the task at hand.
Among the reasons cited by Zondo in his affidavit is that some witnesses contracted Covid-19 and could not come to testify on time and some of his staff members fell sick for more than a month which interrupted the workflow.
“I submit that it is in the public interest that this Honourable Court grants the extension sought in this application so that the Commission may complete its work properly and submit its report to the President. If the above Honourable Court were to refuse to extend the Commission’s term of office, the Commission’s work would end without the report that needs to be submitted to the President,” he said in court papers.
He added tthe biggest risk in concluding the work by the end of this month is that he would not be able to make any findings.
“That would mean that the Commission would end its work abruptly at the end of September without having made any findings and recommendations about the issues of alleged state capture, fraud and corruption that it has been investigating for over three years. I submit that that result would not be in the public interest. I submit that what is in the public interest is for this Honourable Court to grant the Commission the extension asked for so that the Commission can complete the preparation of its report.
“If this Honourable Court extended the Commission’s term up to the end of December, it would mean that the Commission’s term will have been extended by a further three months. It would also mean that, all in all, the Commission has been given a period of six months (from 1 June 2021 to 31 December 2021) to prepare and complete its report. I submit that that is not at all an unreasonable period for a Commission faced with the enormous work that this Commission has been faced with and for a Commission that heard oral evidence for about three years (from August 2018 to June 2021) and heard over 330 witnesses,” Zondo argued in his application.