Pietermaritzburg high court delivers judgment on Jacob Zuma’s application to stay his arrest

The Pietermaritzburg high court is on Friday delivering judgment on former president Jacob Zuma's application to stay the execution of his arrest.

Zuma started his 15-month jail sentence on Wednesday night after handing himself over at the Estcourt Correctional Centre following a ruling by the Constitutional Court that found him guilty for contempt of court after he defied an order by the apex court to appear before the state capture inquiry.

Last Friday, he urgently applied to the high court in Pietermaritzburg to stay the order that required him to turn himself in by Sunday, and to interdict the police from arresting him pending his rescission application to the Constitutional Court. In the high court he has also asked that the stay of imprisonment be kept in place pending a high court constitutional challenge to the “common law distinction of civil and contempt proceedings”.

In his affidavit, Zuma said the high court has powers to enforce or stay the execution of any order of court, even the order of a higher court. He said his personal liberty was at stake as a result of his imminent detention without trial “in breach of my constitutional rights, including the right to life, the right to dignity and the right to freedom”.

He argued that he had been sentenced without trial and, if imprisoned, would equally have been detained without trial.

His application to the Constitutional Court to rescind its judgment will be heard on July 12.

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