WATCH | Mbalula reminds Zuma supporters of his words on honouring rule of law amid ongoing looting
Amid protests linked to the incarceration of Jacob Zuma, transport minister Fikile Mbalula has reminded the former president’s supporters of his words about honouring the rule of law.
Zuma is serving his 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal. He was handed the sentence by the Constitutional Court last month after failing to appear at the state capture inquiry.
Many of his supporters, including his son Duduzane, have been calling for his release.
Taking to social media this week, Mbalula shared a clip of Zuma’s 2009 Al Jazeera interview in which he can be heard discussing his ongoing corruption case and the rule of law.
Speaking to Sir David Frost, Zuma, who was a presidential candidate at the time, said no president was above the law.
We are running a constitutional democracy in SA and we are practising a very clear rule of law.Jacob Zuma in 2009 interview
He vowed that if he seized power, he would not push for immunity from prosecution.
“No, why should I do so? We are running a constitutional democracy in SA and we are practising a very clear rule of law. There’s no president, whether he wins with two-thirds of a majority, who can stand up there and say ‘I am cancelling these judges’. Impossible in the South African setting,” he said.
Zuma also said, under the constitutional democracy, no citizen in the country can be exempt from being tried in court because they hold a certain position.
He reiterated that everybody was equal before the law, president included.
“We are going to once again do something that is unprecedented in this country, wherein the president will go to court and answer questions and test the allegations against him and allow the court of law to determine whether he was guilty,” Zuma said at the time.
Mbalula said Zuma “affirmed the rule of law in line with the values, positions and resolutions of the ANC.
“We remain a constitutional democracy,” he said.
Attempts to get further comment from Mbalula were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this story. Comment will be included once received.
On Monday, Zuma’s lawyer Dali Mpofu said a contempt order had “criminal consequences” but Zuma had not been granted the rights of other criminal accused.
Mpofu was leading the arguments in Zuma’s rescission application in an online hearing before nine of the ConCourt’s 11 judges
He said the rights of citizens included the right not to be detained without trial, the right to a fair trial and the right of every criminal accused to have their conviction and sentence reassessed on appeal.
Mpofu said the ConCourt made a “rescindable error” when the majority did not consider whether these limitations of Zuma’s rights were justifiable under the constitution.
“What we are saying is that this court made fundamentally rescindable errors,” he said.