Jacob Zuma launched last-minute authorized bids to keep away from imprisonment for contempt of the nation’s highest court docket, as South Africa’s former president rallied supporters to withstand any transfer to arrest him.
South Africa’s constitutional court docket had ordered Zuma to show himself in by Sunday to start a 15-month jail sentence for defying orders to attend an inquiry inspecting systematic corruption beneath his nine-year presidency.
However on Saturday the court docket agreed to listen to Zuma’s bid to rescind its ruling on the grounds that the 79-year-old was too frail to outlive jail, regardless of frequent public boasts that he didn’t worry being jailed for what he has referred to as political persecution by “lawless judges”.
“It’s my very own unstable state of well being and that it’s my bodily life that the incarceration order threatens,” Zuma mentioned in authorized papers.
Zuma had till now refused to have interaction with the constitutional court docket over his walkout from the inquiry, the place dozens of witnesses have implicated him in graft together with allegedly serving to the Gupta enterprise household loot state sources. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.
Zuma’s legal professionals have additionally requested a decrease court docket to interdict the jail sentence, with a listening to set down for Tuesday — indicating that he won’t be arrested till Wednesday on the earliest. The constitutional court docket will in the meantime hear his case on July 12.
Attorneys mentioned that neither bid was more likely to succeed, however the authorized drama has prolonged a stand-off the place the rule of regulation in South Africa is at stake if the federal government of President Cyril Ramaphosa permits Zuma to withstand arrest.
This weekend small bands of Zuma supporters waved the colors of the ruling African Nationwide Congress and held vigils outdoors his homestead, some clad within the uniforms of the ANC’s disbanded wing of navy veterans.
The demonstrations defied an official ban on gatherings to regulate coronavirus infections beneath South Africa’s worsening third wave.
Zuma had referred to as on supporters on Saturday to defend him and mentioned he had carried out nothing improper. Brandishing a standard defend, Zuma added that the inquiry mustn’t have pried into “state secrets and techniques” beneath his rule.
The present of assist for the previous president has rattled the ANC, which postponed a gathering of senior officers this weekend in order that it may as a substitute ship them to the scene so as “to provide clear and principled management to make sure the upkeep of the rule of regulation” and to keep away from violence.
However the rally has additionally uncovered the boundaries of Zuma’s diminishing energy base. The Zulu king, Misuzulu kaZwelithini, forbade members of conventional Zulu warrior regiments from going to the previous president due to the restrictions on gatherings.