The Constitutional Court will on Monday hear former president Jacob Zuma’s bid to have his 15-month imprisonment sentence rescinded.
Zuma’s legal team will present his case, which will be opposed by lawyers representing the State Capture Commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation.
The former president contended that the Constitutional Court giving the State Capture Commission direct access to it has effectively resulted in his imprisonment without trial. He quotes, in his court papers, a case of contempt of court heard by the Supreme Court of Appeals which did not result in jail time for the convicted person, but rather saw his investigation by the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA).
The Commission has said Zuma had ample opportunities to present his case but chose not to do so. It says that the rescission application is a thinly-disguised attempt at an appeal by the former president. It wants it dismissed with costs.
Legal analyst, Ulrich Roux, says he does not believe that Zuma’s application will be successful. Roux says the court has already presented a plausible judgment.
“They couldn’t have granted him another opportunity to abide, they couldn’t have suspended the sentence once again because he had disregarded all the previous orders made against him. So, he’s basically saying to the ConCourt you made an error in ruling that I was in contempt and you made an error in sending me for a period of imprisonment and you need to set aside your decision. Now the Constitutional Court has never before set aside or rescinded it’s own orders and to be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen here as well. I don’t think there’s grounds for him,” he says.
Roux explains the process that the Constitutional Court is likely to follow.
“I don’t think we must expect a ruling on Monday already. The legal teams will argue and the court will most likely reserve judgment and probably they’ll take it’s time like they did with the contempt application to hand down judgment. Most likely two to three weeks in my opinion.”
His jailing has sparked protests in some parts of the country, which has seen trucks torched and shops looted.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned lawbreakers that they will be prosecuted: