The African National Congress (ANC) says it has noted Constitutional Court’s judgment against Jacob Zuma, sentencing the former President to 15 months in jail.

In a statement, the party says it is studying the judgment.

“Without a doubt, this is a difficult period in the movement and we call upon our members to remain calm. The meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) scheduled to take place this weekend, will reflect on the implications and consequences of the judgement. We further reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rule of law and fulfilling the aspirations of our constitutional democracy.”

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe elaborates on the party’s stance in the matter: 

The judgment

The country’s highest court found Zuma guilty of contempt of court for defying a summons to testify at the State Capture Commission.

The Constitutional Court has described as disturbing, what it calls, Zuma’s attempt to ignore, undermine and destroy the rule of law.

Zuma has been ordered to hand himself over to police, at either Nkandla Police Station or Johannesburg Central within five days – to begin serving his sentence.

The judgment followed a request by the State Capture Commission Chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that Zuma be found in contempt of court and jailed for defying summonses to testify before the Commission.

Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe handed down the judgment.

“No person enjoys exclusion or exemption from the sovereignty, from the rules of the republic and Mr. Zuma is no exception. Indeed, it will be against the value of accountability, as those who once held the high office are not bound by the law. The ConCourt holds that it is disturbing that he, who twice swore allegiance to the republic, its laws, and the constitution, has sought to ignore, undermine, and in many ways destroy the rule of law altogether,” said Justice Khampepe.

Decision welcomed

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) and the Democratic Alliance have welcomed the ruling.

CASAC has described the decision as significant.

Amnesty International also believes the decision was correct.  The organisation says the decision demonstrates that no one is above the law.

“The judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court in the contempt of court matter is an important development for the rule of law. It is a reminder that no one is above the law, no matter who they are or their social or political status,” says Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director, Shenilla Mohamed.

“When he took the oath of office, twice as the president of South Africa, Zuma swore to uphold the law. But he did not live up to his promise to respect the law. Respect for the rule of law is essential for the promotion and protection of human rights,” she adds.

A timeline of the Zuma matter: