Zuma's lawyers readying for 'fresh or consequential' ConCourt action if high court case goes his way

Former president's replying affidavit in his Constitutional Court application was filed on Thursday morning, hours after he was taken into custody

08 July 2021 - 15:46 By Franny Rabkin
Jacob Zuma's lawyers say they could ask the ConCourt to make an interim order depending on the outcome of the former president's high court matter on Friday. File photo.
Jacob Zuma's lawyers say they could ask the ConCourt to make an interim order depending on the outcome of the former president's high court matter on Friday. File photo.
Image: Rogan Ward

Former president Jacob Zuma might ask the Constitutional Court to deal with “the interim situation” until it decides his application to reverse his imprisonment, he said in court papers on Thursday.

His replying affidavit was filed in the Constitutional Court on Thursday morning, hours after he was taken into custody in accordance with the ConCourt’s order last week.

The former president has applied to the highest court to reverse or “rescind” its earlier order sentencing him to 15 months in prison for contempt of court. The contempt order came after Zuma defied an earlier ConCourt order to appear before the state capture commission and give evidence, as per its summons.

The rescission application is set down for Monday.

On Friday, the high court in Pietermaritzburg is expected to hand down judgment in a separate application, in which Zuma sought to stay the execution of his arrest. The case was heard on Tuesday, but when the judge said he would only hand down judgment on Friday, the police by law had to comply and arrest Zuma by the end of Wednesday — leading to his dramatic admission to the Estcourt prison in the early hours of Thursday.

In his replying affidavit to the ConCourt, the former president said depending on what the high court decided, his lawyers would either bring “fresh or consequential proceedings” in the apex court or ask it for an interim order pending its decision on the rescission application.

Zuma also rejected the argument by the commission that his rescission application was merely an appeal in another guise. He said the commission had not put all the relevant information before the ConCourt when it asked the court to send him to prison. The commission had a duty to do this when it argued the case in his absence, he said.

“The chairperson of the commission [deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo] was obliged to make full disclosure of all the material facts and circumstances, including those that could hurt his own case against me. He failed to do so and that is partly why I am seeking rescission judgment,” said Zuma.

He said this included not telling the court that the commission was not dealing with his review of Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself on an “expedited basis”, and that while Zondo had “ruled” he would schedule Zuma’s appearance after hearing a report from Zuma’s doctors, he then changed his mind and wanted other doctors present at the briefing.

Zuma said Zondo had abandoned his “ruling” that he would deal with his non-appearance at the commission via the criminal route under the Commissions Act. This was “a prescribed process” and abandoning it was unlawful and irrational, he said.

“Having informed me and the public that he was invoking the Commissions Act to address my non-appearance at the commission, he was simply not entitled to approach the Constitutional Court as a court of first and last instance.”                       

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