Mpofu suggests 'another Marikana' could happen if high court dismisses Zuma application

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Jacob Zuma with his advocate Dali Mpofu (right) walks back to his home after addressing his supporters in front of his Nkandla home.
Jacob Zuma with his advocate Dali Mpofu (right) walks back to his home after addressing his supporters in front of his Nkandla home.
Emmanuel Croset / AFP
  • Former president Jacob Zuma has applied to the high court to have the execution of the Constitutional Court order stayed.
  • During arguments, Zuma's lawyer suggested that dismissing the application could lead to a situation similar to what happened in Marikana.
  • Zuma is currently fighting to stay out of prison after being found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months behind bars.

In his closing arguments, advocate Dali Mpofu, representing former president Jacob Zuma - in a bid to suspend the warrants for the former president's arrest and committal to prison - has suggested that dismissing the application could lead to "another Marikana".

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg heard arguments on Tuesday as to why the enforcement of the Constitutional Court order should be suspended pending the outcome of the rescission application to be heard in the apex court next week.

Zuma launched the two legal challenges after a majority ruling of the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in jail.

Mpofu, who had earlier argued that the high court has jurisdiction to hear the matter, said that if the order was not suspended, it would amount to one of the most fundamental invasions of human rights that can never be imagined in a case that deals with an arrest of a person.

READ | Zuma a 'repetitive, recalcitrant lawbreaker', case should be dismissed with costs, says lawyer

He added that the court would also be directly or indirectly pre-empting and prejudging the outcome of the rescission application if the application was dismissed.

Mpofu then appeared to refer to the situation unfolding in Nkandla, where loyal Zuma supporters, some of whom were armed, had gathered in contravention of the Disaster Management Act regulations.

"When they say in their best judgment of the situation, those orders must await the outcome of the case on Monday," Mpofu told Judge Jerome Mnguni.

Your Lordship will say 'no, no no, you're wrong, whatever, let's just have another Marikana. Let's have whatever might happen simply because this was an order of a higher court and with no authority being cited. I am tying my hands, and I will not be able to prevent that which the police and the president and everyone else seeks to prevent'


READ | Nkandla gathering: Police should have stopped people from coming entirely, say experts

Following the apex court ruling, supporters, including the MKMVA, descended on Zuma's Nkandla homestead. News24 reported that some of the supporters also fired shots.

On Monday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele said police officers did not arrest anyone because they wanted to avoid bloodshed.

"There were more than 100 [people] coming from some hostels and coming from some areas [of] KZN, armed. Now, police knew that and had that information. To show that, they (the people) even tried to provoke the police by having those firearms used there and shooting in the air," Cele said.

Cele added that lessons had been learnt from past experiences, including the infamous Marikana massacre where police gunned down 34 miners during a wage strike in 2012.

This Tuesday morning, Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole told acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that they would not act on the Constitutional Court's order on Zuma's arrest, until his legal challenge to his 15-month jail term for contempt was finalised, News24 reported.

This was in the form of a written letter from the State Attorney in Pretoria, who wrote the letter on behalf of Cele and Sitole.

The high court will hand down judgment on Friday.

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