Reprieve for Zuma as ConCourt agrees to hear his contempt rescission case

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock after a recess of his corruption trial at the  Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock after a recess of his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Phill Magakoe / AFP

In a move that shocked several legal commentators, the apex court issued directions that it would hear Zuma’s case on 12 July.

It however remains to be been if this will persuade the High Court that it has the jurisdiction to block Zuma’s arrest.

In directions issued one day after Zuma launched urgent legal action to undo the contempt finding made against him or plead for a lesser sentence than the 15 months he currently faces, the Constitutional Court agreed that it would hear his rescission application on 12 July. 

Zuma will still have to apply for an order staying the committal orders granted against him by the Constitutional Court in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. The Court’s agreement to hear the case will arguably make it easier for him to obtain that stay.

The police are, however, understood to have agreed to not arrest him before the hearing of the urgent stay application, which is set down for Tuesday.

Zuma was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after he defied the apex court's ruling that he appear before the State Capture Inquiry and answer questions that did not implicate him in specific crimes.

After refusing to make any submissions on the sanction he should face, Zuma now argues that sending him to prison would amount to a "death sentence". 

He also denied being  guilty of contempt. 

The inquiry was opposing his rescission application and had until Tuesday to file papers in response to his arguments. 

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