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ConCourt rejects Jacob Zuma's bid to overturn jail sentence

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA

Published Sep 17, 2021


Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has rejected the rescission application by former president Jacob Zuma, his 15-month sentence is confirmed and the case has been dismissed with costs.

This means that he will foot the legal bill for the legal teams that were paid for by the state capture commission.

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Delivering judgment Justice Sisi Khampepe said the majority ruling found Zuma did not meet the requirements of a rescission.

“The majority of the Constitutional Court finds that Mr Zuma has not met the statutory requirements of a rescission,” said Khampepe.

“The majority emphatically rejects any suggestion that litigants can be allowed to butcher of their own will judicial process which in all respects has been carried out with the utmost degree of regularity only to later to plead the absent victim. Elected absence like that of Mr Zuma constitutes more than litigious skulduggery, which does not have the effect of turning a competently granted order into one erroneously granted,” said Khampepe.

Zuma was found guilty by the Constitutional Court after he refused to appear at the state capture commission. On July 8 he started serving his 15-month sentence. In August he was taken to hospital.

The Constitutional Court on July 12 reserved judgment on Zuma’s application to have his 15-month sentence for contempt rescinded after hearing almost 10 hours of argument dominated by his counsel’s insistence that the former president was denied his constitutional rights.

Zuma argued that the order was granted in his absence and without him being granted a trial. However the Concourt found that Zuma did not meet the statutory requirements of a rescission application.

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Khampepe detailed the history of Zuma’s contempt case which she said was important to contextualise the matter.

She said in December 2020 the secretary for the Judicial Commission of the inquiry into allegations into state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector including organs of state which is the first responded in the present matter approached the ConCourt on an urgent basis for an order that will compel Zuma’s cooperation with the commission's investigation.

“Mr Zuma did not oppose the application. On 28 January 2021 the ConCourt handed down judgement ordering Zuma to attend the commission and give evidence before it. Notably, Zuma did not comply with that order instead he issued a series of public statements in which he imputed the integrity of the court, commission and the judiciary and expressed intention neither to cooperate with the work of the commission nor comply with the order,” said Khampepe.

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