Dali Mpofu has slammed 'busybodies' - State Capture Commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation - for opposing the former president's application.
The proceedings at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday in former president Jacob Zuma’s application, which sought to have his arrest stayed, was clouded by matters around jurisdiction, among other issues.
The Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture and the Helen Suzman Foundation were the only parties opposing the former president’s application.
Zuma was ordered to hand himself over to a police station in Nkandla or Johannesburg on Sunday, 4 July, after being convicted of contempt of court by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) last week and sentenced to 15 months in prison, over his refusal to appear before the commission.
In the ConCourt judgment, then-acting chief justice Sisi Khampepe also directed Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole to arrest Zuma within three days of the Sunday deadline, should he fail to hand himself over.
However, the ConCourt has since agreed to grant Zuma a rescission hearing on Monday, 12 July, where Zuma will attempt to get the apex court to review its custodial censure of his conduct.
In light of the upcoming rescission proceedings, Cele and Sitole on Monday evening indicated that they would “hold further actions” and not comply with the ConCourt’s instruction to arrest Zuma for failure to present himself to police to begin serving his sentence.
During the proceedings on Tuesday, advocate Dali Mpofu – Zuma’s attorney – told Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni that the former president’s application sought to interdict the implementation of the arrest order given by the ConCourt.
Mpofu said the ConCourt’s minority judgment – which had also found that Zuma had been in contempt, with the only difference being a preference for a suspended prison sentence – was the reason “why we are all here”.
The advocate argued that Zuma was not a flight risk and that given his age, the court should prevent the execution of his arrest, further highlighting that the former president was still under the care of the state.
He said that the State Capture Commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation had no business in opposing Zuma’s application, calling them “uninvited busybodies”.
On whether the high court had jurisdiction to interdict the implementation of a ConCourt order, Mpofu said Judge Mnguni in fact had jurisdiction, citing Section 172 of the Constitution as an example.
Mpofu explained that the hgh court had jurisdiction to grant an interim interdict to stay Zuma arrest.
“Whether a high court will have jurisdiction to grant interim relief pending a matter exclusively within this court’s jurisdiction, in other words the [ConCourt], does not depend on the form or effect of the interim relief… it depends on the proper interpretation of the relevant provision and on the substance of the order.
“So the substance of the order here [is that] we have already said Section 172 and the common law [interdict] and Part B consideration,” he said.
The advocate argued that the Constitution was the most supreme, having power over the courts, the president of the country or any other person with authority.
He reiterated that claims that the high court did no have the power to grant interim relief was “the height of absurdity”.
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