The Al Jama-ah political party says it will ask Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, to prepare a submission to President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately grant former president Jacob Zuma a presidential pardon.
Al Jama-ah leader, Ganief Hendricks, says the Constitutional Court should have only sent Zuma to jail if it was an unanimous decision.
The majority decision of the ConCourt was for Zuma to serve 15 months in prison for defying the court’s order for him to appear before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.
In the minority judgment, two of the Constitutional Court judges, Leona Theron and Chris Jafta, wanted Zuma to be given a suspended sentence. Hendricks says Al Jama-ah is disappointed and says this was not a criminal matter.
“The Al Jama-ah political party is shocked at the decision by the Constitutional Court to send President Zuma to jail for 15 months. While different political parties and society will have different views,- we feel it was important (that) the Constitutional Court should only have done that if it was a unanimous decision. And every member of the Constitutional Court has the same standing and so the principle of majority of one should certainly apply,” he says.
Hendricks believes that Constitutional Court judges should have deliberated further on the matter due to Theron and Jafta’s position.
“When the other members of the Constitutional Court became aware of a minority position,- they should have continued to deliberate on the matter because that decision of the Constitutional Court may send the country into chaos. And Al Jama-ah feels that in view of the fact that even the Public Protector feels that it was not the right thing to do, – that the next step (by Al Jama-ah) is to ask the Minister of Justice to prepare a submission to the President to grant President Zuma a pardon with immediate effect,” he adds.
He says, however, conditions should be applied in the matter, including that the former president makes a full and proper disclosure of the details of all personalities involved in corruption during his administration, as well as provide a full disclosure of what happened to the proceeds of the corruption and where such proceeds are to be found.
Hendriks says he hopes that president Ramaphosa will consider the party’s submission for Zuma’s pardon.
Below is the party’s full statement on the matter:
Hendriks says he hopes that its submission for the immediate pardon of Zuma will me considered.
“There are obviously a lot of support for President Zuma taking into account (that) he gave a lifetime of service to liberate South Africans from Apartheid,- and certainly that must count. We are also aware of the fact that this government has delayed (in) prosecuting those guilty of Apartheid crimes, – including (prosecuting) former cabinet Ministers, former Presidents. And that’s why we feel that for a matter that is not really a criminal matter but a civil matter,- to send the former President to prison without any right if appeal is anti-revolutionary. So, we hope that our submission to the Minister of Justice will succeed.”
Former President Jacob Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday morning.
This after the Chairperson of the State Capture Commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, had requested that the apex court declare Zuma in contempt of court.
Zondo also wanted Zuma sentenced to two years in prison for defying summonses to testify before the Commission.
In handing down judgment, Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe said: “To Mr Zuma specifically, his contempt is rebukable in the strongest sense. In determining the length of the sentence, the majority has considered the unique circumstances of this matter, the nature of the breach and the extent to which the breach is on-going.”
“Not only has Zuma failed to dispute the contempt of court, he has also failed to contest the degree of the contempt. Instead, he has aggravated it. The majority judgment orders an unsuspended sentence of imprisonment for a period of 15 months.”
Former President Jacob Zuma contempt case judgment: