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'ConCourt's latest play suggests that prison is very much on the table for Zuma'

12 April 2021 4:21 PM
Tags:
Constitutional Court
Zuma
contempt of court
ConCourt vs Zuma
Jacob Zuma contempt case

Former president Jacob Zuma has until Wednesday to propose what he feels would be an appropriate sentence if he is found guilty of contempt.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng issued directions that Zuma must file an affidavit suggesting what sentence should be imposed on him if he's found guilty of contempt of court.

The Constitutional Court has been strongly criticised for the move, which some argue may be politically motivated.

RELATED: ConCourt letter asking Zuma to propose sanction was an error: Eusebius McKaiser

The state capture commission wants Zuma jailed for two years for defying a ConCourt order that he appear before the commission and provide evidence.

The affidavit is Zuma’s last chance to persuade the ConCourt not to send him to prison. It's unclear whether his legal team will make any submissions to the apex court.

Legal journalist Karyn Maughan says the ConCourt's latest approach suggests that imprisonment may be a possibility for Zuma.

"I think by sending these directions, the court is making it clear that prison is very much on the table, whether in a suspended form or not", Maughan tells CapeTalk host John Maytham.

Zuma has previously stated that he doesn’t fear being arrested.

Maughan explains that the ConCourt's decision will have political and legal repercussions, no matter what the court decides.

This is an extraordinary decison. There is no playbook for this, and there is going to be blowback on whatever this court decides.

Karyn Maughan, legal journalist

I think they do want to... be able to immunise themselves against criticism that they did not seek his input at least one last time before they impose jail time on him.

Karyn Maughan, legal journalist

I can understand why there has been a lot of criticism of [the directions] because of the fact that Jacob Zuma has made it so patently clear that he does not wish to participate in this process... and essentially signaled to everyone that he does not believe that rule of law actually applies to him.

Karyn Maughan, legal journalist

I don't think there's any expectation from any of us, not least of all the Constitutional Court, that he [Zuma] is actually going to file something but I think the ConCourt - knowing that sending a head of state to prison for contempt is a massive and significant move - is trying to make a somewhat politically-tinged decision.

Karyn Maughan, legal journalist

In the odd collision of criminal and civil law that is involved here... I think the Constitutional Court is very much signalling to the former head of state that they do intend to possibly give him some form of imprisonment - whether that's suspended or not - and they want his final input before they make that decision.

Karyn Maughan, legal journalist

Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:




12 April 2021 4:21 PM
Tags:
Constitutional Court
Zuma
contempt of court
ConCourt vs Zuma
Jacob Zuma contempt case

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