We’ll have no choice but to arrest Zuma if ConCourt doesn’t respond, says police ministry

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The police ministry says if it doesn’t receive a response from the office of the Chief Justice by the end of business on Wednesday, police officials will have no choice but to effect the arrest warrant against former president, Jacob Zuma.

The Constitutional Court’s ultimatum that the former president hand himself over to the police in Nkandla or Johannesburg within five days expired on Sunday midnight. Meaning that it was now up to Police Minister, Bheki Cele, and the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, to ensure that he gets committed to prison.

On Tuesday Cele, in a letter penned by the State Attorney’s office on his behalf, informed the acting chief justice, Raymond Zondo, that he would hold off on the arrest due to the litigation that Zuma is currently embarking on. He also requested clarity from the Apex Court on a way forward in the matter.

Cele’s office says it has until midnight to take the former president into custody and it will execute the order of the Constitutional Court if it receives no response from the Apex Court by the end of business on Wednesday.

 Spokesperson Lirandzu Themba explains the ministry’s position:

Zuma’s stay of execution case

Lawyer for the State Capture Commission, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, has rubbished the letter from the State Attorney’s office as nonsensical.

It stated that they would hold off on Zuma’s arrest until his legal challenge against his 15-month jail sentence finalised, unless advised otherwise by the ConCourt. The Constitutional Court will hear the case on Monday.

On Tuesday, the former president’s bid to stave off arrest pending the matter was heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Ngcukaitobi was one of two respondents who presented arguments to Judge Jerome Mnguni.

He argued that the warrant of arrest should be executed in the interim.

“A judgment and an order are not suspended merely on account of the institution of the rescission application it remains operative and he does so on the context of section 18 and he draws the comparison between section 18 of the Superior court and rule 45 of Capital A and then he says you must comply you may get an order to stay, but you must comply there is no automatic suspension simply because you have instituted a rescission application that also put pain to the nonsensical letter from the police which is asking the Constitutional court for clarity. There is no clarity inquired by the Constitutional Court the order is manifest all it need to be done is to be enforced,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Ngcukaitobi elaborates on his views:

Zuma’s legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, rejected Ngcukaitobi’s assertions, saying the high court should interdict the arrest of his client in the interest of justice.

Judgment in this matter is expected to be handed down on Friday.