Zuma’s legal team says High Court has jurisdiction to grant an interdict to stop the execution of warrant of arrest

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Former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer advocate Dali Mpofu has argued before the Pietermaritzburg High Court why it does have jurisdiction in common law to grant an interdict to stop the execution of the warrant of arrest.

VIDEO: Zuma’s urgent application for a stay of execution of his arrest

Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole have already stated, through the State Attorney, that they will not act on orders to arrest former President Jacob Zuma until his legal challenge to his 15-month jail term is finalised. The rescission application will be heard by the Constitutional Court on Monday.

Mpofu argued that while the main rescission application falls within the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction, this should not prevent the Pietermaritzburg High Court from ruling on staying the execution of the warrant of arrest for former President Zuma. Mpofu quoted sections in the Constitution, that he says, means lower courts can act in this favour.

Zuma was supposed to hand himself over to authorities at midnight on Sunday, to start serving his 15-months sentence for contempt of court.

Mpofu spoke out strongly against submissions from the Zondo Commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation who are opposing Zuma’s application- referring to them as “un-invited busy-bodies”.

“If the parties which are Constitutionally empowered including the President Constitutionally empowered to execute the warrant have found it necessary in the interest of justice remember the police mandate from the Constitution, it covers the interest of justice to hold this execution of the warrant in abeyance then what business is it of an NGO and the Commission whose duty is to inspect or examine or investigate the State Capture to oppose that which the Constitutional bodies tasked with the body with this task,” said Mpofu.

Lawyer for the State Capture Commission – Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi- described Zuma as a defiant litigant and a repetitive and recusant lawbreaker. The State Capture Commission is opposing Zuma’s application.

“Mr Zuma has once again not complied. He has not handed himself over to the police, the date by which he should have handed himself over lapsed on Sunday. He is now two days after the lapsing of that period. He has no permission from anyone. He has again taken the law unto his hands. He has not asked for a variation of that period from the Constitutional Court. He did not launch these proceedings prior to the lapse of the order in paragraph 5 so that then the context which the Lordship approach this matter, we are dealing with an applicant deliberately defiance litigant he is presently in defiance of the present contempt of court,” says Ngcukaitobi.


Video: Application for stay of execution of arrest, Former Pres. Jacob Zuma vs State Capture Commission

The Helen Suzman Foundation is similarly also opposing the application. Advocate Max du Plessis- labelled the relief being sought by Zuma as “truly exceptional”, stating that superior orders like those by the Constitutional Court are binding.

“The first misconception arises from Mr Zuma’s legal team. They are going to recast him as a victim of the Constitutional Court,” says Du Plessis.

“Mr Zuma is not a victim. This case is about past ongoing defiance of the rule of law, the repeated Constitutional defiance that has been exemplified by Mr Zuma’s deliberate election not to appear before the Commission, not to argue, and not to comply with the court orders. My Lord, we are saying the calculative show of events Mr Zuma deliberately took a step over the line that he knew he could not cross,” continued Du Plessis.

Legal expert Professor Cathleen Powell criticised the letter by the state attorney to the office of the Chief Justice on behalf of Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, stating that they would not act on orders to arrest Zuma until his legal challenge is finalised next week. She says Cele should have made a court application.

“Unfortunately, Bheki Cele has already taken it upon himself to overturn the Constitutional order. I understand a letter if is it legit to the Constitutional order by the ministry of police to say they are not going to give effect to the order until all the litigation have been sorted out which unprecedented but that development is undermining the rule of law than Zuma himself has been,” says Powell.

Mpofu’s argued that Zuma’s constitutional rights have been infringed as he received a prison sentence without a civil or criminal trial. Judge Jerome Mnguni is expected to hand down judgement in this matter on Friday.

Video: Reaction to Zuma’s attempts to avoid jail: Prof. Kgothatso Shai


Video: Edward Zuma reiterates his father will not be arrested


Report by Minoshni Pillay and Nonkululeko Hlophe