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

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Unmasked: Former president Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters in front of his Nkandla compound on Sunday.
Unmasked: Former president Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters in front of his Nkandla compound on Sunday.
  • Former president Jacob Zuma's stay of execution application should be dismissed with costs, a lawyer has argued.
  • Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said the KwaZulu-Natal High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
  • Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months in prison. 

Former president Jacob Zuma is a "repetitive, recalcitrant lawbreaker", and his stay of execution application should be dismissed with costs, the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg heard on Tuesday.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, representing the Zondo Commission and its chairperson, argued Zuma had now turned to the High Court asking it to assist him in "breaking the law" further, adding it should reject this.  

He said this was a "grave matter" and the court was dealing with a litigant who had defined himself outside the ambit of constitutional and judicial authority.

READ | Mpofu tells High Court it has jurisdiction over 'bizarre' Jacob Zuma situation

The Constitutional Court found Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison. He had until Sunday to hand himself over to the police, which he failed to do.

On Tuesday, Ngcukaitobi said Zuma had several opportunities to provide a response to the commission's case to compel him to testify and the contempt case against him but failed to take these opportunities.

Instead, he hurled abuse at the commission and the apex court, he added.

Ngcukaitobi said Zuma's case should be dismissed, simply because he was in the wrong court.  

He added:

By his conduct, Mr Zuma has placed himself above judicial authority. He has defied the Constitution.

Ngcukaitobi said the former president had "taken the law into his own hands" by not handing himself over to the police on Sunday.

"Mr Zuma was never entitled to refuse to submit himself to the police. Submitting himself would not disentitle him to pursue his rescission application or any bail application in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977. But he has refused to do so. His refusal is a further example of an aggravated contempt."

He described Police Minister Bheki Cele's letter to the apex court - in which he said the police would hold off on arresting Zuma until his contempt challenge was finalised - as "nonsensical".

Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole told acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo earlier on Tuesday morning they would not act on the arrest order.

ALSO READ | Zuma pushing ANC, SA into a crisis that could shake the rule of law, say analysts

This was in the form of a written letter from the state attorney in Pretoria, which wrote the letter on behalf of Cele and Sitole.

But Ngcukaitobi said the order remained operative, adding the deadline for the police to arrest Zuma lapsed on Wednesday.

He added the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear Zuma's application to stay his arrest.

Ngcukaitobi said the ConCourt was the only court that had jurisdiction and Zuma could still approach it for a stay of execution "even by way of a letter" to stay the order.

"You should dismiss this application because you have no jurisdiction," he added.

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