The Constitutional Court will on Monday hear a bid by former president Jacob Zuma to have his 15-month imprisonment sentence reviewed.
Zuma hopes for a different outcome to his sentence, based on his poor health, and what he contends was the erroneous granting by the Constitutional Court of direct access to the Inquiry to hear his contempt of case court.
He also says the apex court’s sentence was overly harsh.
Spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mwanele Manyi condemns the sentence.
“[Former] President Zuma is the very first person in democratic South Africa to be jailed without trial. To be jailed without trial is a travesty of justice. We call upon the Constitutional Court to use Monday as a day of reflection and take the opportunity to take the country out of its misery and rescind this unconstitutional and unlawful sentencing of a person without a trial.”
The rescission application by Zuma will seek to have the Constitutional Court re-look its sentence to allow his stay in prison to be substantially reduced.
Attorney Sinawo Makangela explains the ground on which this applies.
“A rescission is an application that is brought by a litigant who says the court did not have the benefit of some information either there is an error that is common to all the parties and if that error is common to all parties. Both parties, even the president would acknowledge, there was an error and the commission would acknowledge that there is an error, had it that information it would have arrived at a different conclusion.”
In his court papers, Zuma bases his application on the fact that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo did not adequately appraise the Constitutional Court of his medical condition as explained to the Inquiry.
Secondly, Zuma complains that Zondo didn’t take into account his application to review his non-recusal pending in the courts and instead went straight to the apex court.
Zuma additionally challenges the fairness of the Constitutional Court asking it to pronounce on mitigation of sentence even before the sentence had been passed.
He also says that the Constitutional Court may have been right in its contempt of court finding but harsh in its sentence.
Makangela says Zuma may persuade the court in this regard.
“Two days after the Constitutional Court judgment, the Supreme Court of Appeal delivered a judgment against the litigant who wrote a letter to Judge President Myer insulting that court insulting all the judges. So what the SCA did, it referred the matter to the NDPP so the person could be prosecuted. He can bring a persuasive point to the ConCourt to say it was too harsh on this matter of sentencing.”
In opposing arguments the State Capture Commission says that Zuma had an opportunity to put forward any and all arguments against his summons to the commission and mitigation of the contempt of court sentence but chose not to do so.
It also says that the rescission application is a thinly disguised attempt at an appeal by the former president and therefore should be thrown out.
The Helen Suzman Foundation will also present its arguments as “friend of the court” on the Inquiry’s side with the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution also applying for the same status.
Infographic: Zuma’s contempt of court case: