The constitutional court on Saturday acceded to the request by the former president Jacob Zuma for it to hear his urgent application following the judgment that it made earlier this week. The apex court on Tuesday ruled that the former president was guilty of contempt of court and instructed that he should hand himself over to the police to start serving a 15-month jail term. The court further adjudged that if he does not hand himself over as required, the police minister and the Commissioner of Police should arrange to enforce the judgment.
On Friday, Zuma’s legal team, led by Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, made an urgent appeal for the court to rescind its decision to have him incarcerated. In an announcement made on Saturday, the court said that it would hear Zuma’s urgent application. However, there was no clarity as to the implication to the former ruling that he needs to hand over himself to start his jail term. It is, however, believed that the ruling will be put on hold until after the Monday hearing. This court case comes about following the order that the constitutional court passed in January, which Zuma inadvertently ignored. The highest court in the land had ordered the former president to honour the summons to appear before the Zondo Commission of Enquiry.
The urgent application made by the Zuma team is based on Rule 42 that applies to all courts, which states that a court may “rescind or vary any order or judgment erroneously sought or erroneously granted in the absence of any party affected thereby”. Had it not been for this rule, it would have been impossible for the Zuma team to be heard in court since an order granted by the Constitutional Court cannot be appealed.
While the nation waits with bated breath for the hearing on Monday, tensions are rising in KwaZulu-Natal’s Nkandla, where many of Zuma’s supporters are waiting to form a human shield to protect the former president. This has become so bad that the ANC has had to cancel its National Executive Committee meeting in order to deal with the fallout from the conflict. On his part, the Jacob Zuma foundation announced on Saturday that he would be addressing the nation on Sunday at 6 pm from his Nkandla home.