Zuma asks ConCourt to 'dig from the depth of its judicial being' to hear his case fairly as he files new court papers

Former president asks apex court 'to bring the requisite calmness and restraint, and to adjudicate my matter solely based on its legal merits'

Former president Jacob Zuma has filed papers with the Constitutional Court, asking it to rescind its order that he is guilty of contempt of court. File photo.
Former president Jacob Zuma has filed papers with the Constitutional Court, asking it to rescind its order that he is guilty of contempt of court. File photo.
Image: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Former president Jacob Zuma has applied to the Constitutional Court to rescind its order on Tuesday that he is guilty of contempt of court and sentencing him to 15 months in prison.

He has also made an urgent application to the high court in Pietermaritzburg to stay the orders that required him to turn himself in by Sunday or be arrested, and to interdict the police from arresting him pending his rescission application to the Constitutional Court; and also pending “Part B” of the court case, which would seek a declaration that “in circumstances such as the present” the crime of civil contempt must be conducted in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

This comes after the Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that Zuma was in contempt of court and handed down a 15-month sentence. He was given until Sunday to submit himself to be taken into custody.

On Wednesday, acting deputy chief justice Sisi Khampepe signed a warrant for his committal.

The contempt order was for failing to comply with the Constitutional Court’s earlier order in January that the former president appear at the state capture commission and give evidence, as per the commission’s lawful summons. When the commission summonsed him in February, he did not appear.

He also declined to participate in the application to compel him to abide by the summons or in the application that he be held in contempt.

When the ConCourt directed him to make submissions on what would be an appropriate penalty if it decided to hold him in contempt, he refused, saying his refusal was a conscientious objection.

In his founding affidavit to the ConCourt, which was filed on Friday, Zuma said despite the court’s “strong expression of judicial disdain” for his defiance of it orders, he trusted it would be able to “dig from the depth of its judicial being, to bring the requisite calmness and restraint, and to adjudicate my matter solely based on its legal merits”.

This is a developing story.

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