Former President Jacob Zuma’s bid to stop his arrest has been heard by Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, who will hand down judgment on Friday.
This comes after hours of arguments that were heard between Zuma’s lawyer, Dale Mpofu, and counsel for the state capture commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation.
Mpofu argued before Mnguni for an order that the warrant of arrest, signed by the Constitutional Court, be stayed. Mpofu spent more than two hours arguing his case and said that the commission’s opposition, was based purely on vindictiveness.
“Opposition that is based purely on vindictiveness and the desire to see Mr Zuma punished… is at the very least inappropriate,” Mpofu argued, after Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, who is a representative of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and Max du Plessis who represents the Helen Suzman Foundation, opposed Zuma’s bid to stay out of jail, saying that it was not the appropriate institution to make that determination.
Judge Mnguni asked Mpofu if they had approached the Constitutional Court to stay its arrest order. Mpofu said they did not “because the applicant did not know the Constitutional Court would issue instructions on Saturday”.
Arguing on behalf of the commission, Ngcukaitobi said that Zuma knew he could approach the Constitutional Court on this issue but chose not to do so, EWN reports.
Ngcukaitobi told the court that Zuma was currently in contempt of a court order that ordered him to hand himself over to the authorities on Sunday. “By his conduct, Mr Zuma has placed himself above judicial authority. He has defied the Constitution,” he said.
Ngcukaitobi added that “we are dealing with a repetitive, recalcitrant lawbreaker in the form of Mr Zuma.”
In the same vein, Du Plessis argued that Zuma was asking the high court to interfere with the highest court’s order.
He said Zuma was not a victim, adding that the former president left the Constitutional Court no choice but to treat him as a man guilty of contempt, adding:
“It’s unconscionable for him to seek this court’s protection when he remains in contempt. There is no hope for his rescission application. He left the Constitutional Court with no choice but to find him in contempt and order his imprisonment. He made his own prison bed.”
Even though Zuma was ordered to hand himself over to the police by last Sunday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said that he will only act on the arrest order after Zuma’s challenge is heard.
The court has subsequently agreed to hear a rescission application on Monday July 12.