Former South African President Jacob Zuma, in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. (Photo / Michele Spatari / Pool via AP)
Former South African President Jacob Zuma, in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. (Photo / Michele Spatari / Pool via AP)

KZN ANC slams Judge Dhaya Pillay for issuing Zuma arrest warrant

By SAMKELO MTSHALI Time of article published Feb 5, 2020

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Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has lashed out at the Pietermaritzburg High Court over its decision to issue a warrant of arrest to former president Jacob Zuma saying that it was irrational. 

The ANC KZN said the court was treating the former president as “some kind of a fugitive”.

This after the court rejected Zuma’s legal teams explanation for his absence. They told the court that Zuma was unable to attend the start of his corruption trial on Tuesday due to ill health. 

High Court judge Dhaya Pillay rejected a sick note that had been handed in by Zuma's legal representatives and issued a warrant of arrest. The warrant has been stayed until his next appearence in May.   

The party’s provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli pulled no punches on Wednesday at the ANC’s provincial headquarters as he lambasted both Pillay and Zuma’s lawyer Dan Mantsha for failing to “engage each other constructively” in a manner that showed that they all cared about Zuma not being well. 

“We know as the leadership of the ANC that the former president is not well, it’s not an allegation. He’s not well and is attending to his health and it’s expected of any human being, let alone a cadre of our movement of such an advanced age, who is turning 78 this year,” said Ntuli.

He said Zuma was one individual who had gone through a lot before the liberation of the country and after its liberation and that he had had to contend with the difficulties of the repressive apartheid system and the democratic system “so persistently after 1994”. 

He said all those struggles were bound to take their toll on his health, jovial spirit and mood that Zuma was often associated with.

“Our view as the ANC is that it’s a pity and it’s unfortunate that we have had a situation where the legal team in court was probably not sufficiently able to impress the judge about the conditions of the former president.

“But we also believe that to issue a warrant of arrest is usually a process that is carried out in all instances whenever the accused has not been able to appear before the court of law without sufficient justification. That is in line with our legal judispondence, that if you don’t turn up in court and you have not sufficiently convinced the court about your absence the court is left with one option, which is to issue a warrant of arrest,” Ntuli said.

However, he said what was “very disturbing” about this case was that it involved a former head of state whose health condition was a responsibility of the state, with the military of the country having a responsibility of the former president of the country and it was “unfortunate” for the military not to be able to provide satisfactory information to Zuma’s legal team to present to the court.  

“Unfortunately it has created a situation in society where, correctly, our people are saying ‘what is that you want from an elderly, a statesman of such an advanced age?’, a man who is not well and has been in court on the day on which he was charged. It was only yesterday that he didn’t attend court,” Ntuli said. 

He added that had Zuma been in fine fettle he would not have missed the ANC’s January 8 celebrations in Kimberly and the provincial leg of the party’s 108th birthday celebrations in Port Shepstone 'since vacating the office of the president he does not miss major ANC occasions'. 

“There is something with the way that the matter has been handled and we hope that by the time the court resumes on the 6th of May there will be clarity about what has happened and who might have not done his or her job properly and what it is that our people should understand about this situation going forward,” said Ntuli. 

He added that the perception of projecting the former ANC and state president as “some kind of a fugitive” was a problem for the party as it knew Zuma as one of its leaders who is a law abiding citizen.

Political Bureau

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