South Africa

Pre-prison Diaries

Woe is me! Serial victim Jacob Zuma now wants to indulge the court

Former president Jacob Zuma at the Pietermaritzburg High Court. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Netwerk24)
By Des Erasmus
03 Jul 2021 45

In his latest attempt to thwart Lady Justice, former president Jacob Zuma has tried to portray himself as a pious man whose only vices have been that he may have accepted poor legal advice, is of ill health, and suffers financial constraints because his state-sponsored legal fees have been halted.  

Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma outside his Nkandla homestead on Friday, 2 July 2021, in KwaZulu-Natal. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

The former president on Friday filed urgent applications in the Constitutional Court and Pietermaritzburg High Court, seeking that the latter issue a stay of his arrest pending the outcome of the appeal to the apex court to reconsider and rescind the judgment in which he was found in contempt and sentenced to 15 months’ direct imprisonment.   

Zuma has also distanced himself from statements released by his eponymous foundation in which attacks have been made against the judiciary, including a misogynistic swipe at Justice Sisi Khampepe.

The ConCourt, in a majority judgment, found Zuma guilty of contempt on Tuesday for disobeying its order that he appear before the Zondo Commission to answer allegations from scores of witnesses about his role in State Capture. 

Zuma has until Sunday to hand himself over to police. Should he not, the SAPS will have three days in which to arrest him and take him to Durban’s Westville Correctional Facility. His application to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have his arrest warrant stayed or interdicted is set down for Tuesday.

In his founding affidavit, Zuma did not miss the opportunity to again insinuate political conspiracy, claiming that one of the ConCourt judges in the majority judgment, Acting Justice Dhaya Pillay,  “was conflicted”, having already ruled against him in his ongoing criminal trial, and claimed that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan “my political enemy…responsible for the so-called Zuma Must Go movement” attempted to influence her appointment to higher office.  

Should the ConCourt reject his application, Zuma is alternatively seeking that it “directs that I am given the proper opportunity to present evidence in relation to the question of whether direct imprisonment is an appropriate remedy for the crime of contempt of court”.

A general view of members of the media outside former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead on Friday, 2 July 2021, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. According to reports, journalists were intimidated and threatened by MKMVA members after questioning their disregard for Covid-19 protocols during a media briefing earlier in the day. (Photo: Leila Dougan)
A general view of former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead on Friday, 2 July 2021, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (Photo: Leila Dougan)
MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus addresses the media outside Zuma’s Nkandla homestead on Friday, 2 July 2021, in KwaZulu-Natal. The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association press briefing took place outside Zuma’s homestead where Niehaus reiterated that they would not allow Zuma to be imprisoned. ‘We have warned that if President Zuma is going to be imprisoned that there will be instability and unrest in SA,’ he said. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Zuma, who has deliberately failed to defend himself before the ConCourt and to appear before the commission while under summons, now states that he always wanted to appear before the commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, but that the dates coincided with his medical examinations.

In characteristic refrain, he states that the current state of affairs is largely because Zondo is biased. He states in his affidavit that when he left the Zondo Commission last year without permission – and in so breached the Commissions Act – it was because he had to take medication, and because there was a communication lag between his legal team and Zondo, which was not adequately conveyed by his lawyers. 

As for his thoughts on the commission: “Let me state what my attitude towards the commission is. I do not believe that it was established in terms of the Constitution and, at the right time, that issue will be the albatross around the neck of its legitimacy.”

He said he hoped that his ConCourt application would not be regarded as “another afront to the court”. He had been recently advised, he said, that  “before I walk through the prison doors to serve my sentence as the first direct prisoner of the Constitutional Court under our constitutional democracy” it would “not be futile” to ask the court to relook at its decision.

“I approach the Honourable Court dreading the prospect that in dealing with this application against its seminal and unprecedented judgment on summary imprisonment without trial for contempt of court, I do trust that it will be able to dig from the depth of its judicial being, to extract the requisite calmness and restraint, and to adjudicate my application solely based on its legal merits.

“Given my own unstable health,” he says, he is entitled to the matter being re-examined to decide if the imprisonment order “does not violate the constitutional rights it is enjoined to protect”.

The former president said the court made the “erroneous assumption” that he was behind the statements made by his foundation.  

“I am a 79-year-old man who suffers from a medical condition that requires constant and intense therapy and attention. In the event that the court is persuaded that I should be given a proper opportunity to deal with the issue of imprisonment, my state of health would also form part of the many other reasons why I should not be imprisoned, more particularly in the current context of a deadly pandemic to which people in my circumstances are particularly vulnerable and at the highest risk of death.”

Zuma said his imprisonment would not serve “any constitutional value but may be a political statement of exemplary punishment”.

He paints himself as a law-abiding citizen.

“There is no other human being in this country who has attended to and respected our courts with such frequency and consistency as I have done in the past 20 years or so. I have never and will never treat our courts with contempt.”

Edward Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma’s oldest son, outside the Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, 2 July 2021. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Zuma said his reasons for not engaging the application of the commission to the ConCourt were based in large part on his “lack of finances”.

However, he doubled down on his attacks against the judiciary, stating he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was right or wrong, and that he should not be imprisoned for holding one.

Zuma sent a letter to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in April wherein he said that he would not file an affidavit in the contempt hearing, calling the matter “a sham”, and saying that the Zondo Commission was “controlled by his political foes”. 

“It is abundantly clear, on any reading of the majority judgment, that the nature and severity of the sentence was greatly, if not totally, influenced by the material contained in the hearsay evidence of the statements which were issued by the Jacob Zuma Foundation in the aftermath of the first judgment of the Constitutional Court.”

The former president said the court made the “erroneous assumption” that he was behind the statements made by his foundation.  

“This unprecedented and cruel regime has therefore been custom-made and specifically designed for me because it is statistically impossible that in the future, another Head of State who is almost 80 years old will be forced to appear before a chairperson of a commission who is accused of bias and conflict of interests. Only Jacob Zuma will fit that bill.”

He said that if the court fails to accept his grounds to have the judgment rescinded, then it ought to “exercise its discretion” for the purpose to hear mitigation “in particular in relation to my developing health situation”. DM

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All Comments 45

  • Brinkmanship
    A clear strategy to not submit an affidavit, which would have been shredded.
    He probably incorrectly assumed that the court would not have the balls to imprison him, but his plea and justification was probably written well in advance
    He should go to prison until his plea for mercy is rejected and then serve out his sentence.
    I see a grave medical crisis on the horizon

    • Agree. And it will be a medical condition/emergency that needs to be treated in Cuba. Or Russia.
      Sigh.
      Obvious.
      But at least the Concourt had the guts to go this far.
      Jailing him would put [back] a penalty for corruption tho!

  • So what happens if he doesn’t report to jail this weekend? Would he then be held up on a contempt charge for defying a Concourt sentence for contempt of court? And would Cele be up on a contempt charge if the SAPS don’t arrest him?

    • The way I read it, Cele and the Police Commissioner have been ordered by the court, so would be in contempt if they fail to do so. No doubt there would be mitigating circumstances. Someone on the radio suggested the Police go in by helicopter to arrest him…not a bad idea?

  • Hilariously exposing himself as the cowardly thief he has always been. When he was top dog he laughed at us all and eviscerated the state to achieve Gupta and other thieves goals while enriching himself at all our expense. The picture he paints is like the undercoat covering the rust before finish coat is applied. Not so funny now are you Jacob. Actually totally pathetic. And domestic Security Services should be noting every one of the braindead supporters of this moron for future incarceration. And please put a Band Aid over that Twinkie Camoflauge Mealy-mouthed Niehaus’ lips using a staple gun.

  • If he fears Covid the prison can arrange for solitary confinement. It did this for Gary Porrit when he tried the same tack.

  • Perhaps he should be sent to Weskoppies and not Westville. Demonstrates all the symptoms of a narcissistic sociopath.

  • For 22 years the ANC defended Zuma, and even elected him as the president of the country for 9 long years. Nine years that were catastrophic, nine years that cost many lives, extreme poverty, complete failure of all SOE’s, an economy that is broken. An inept NPA, and a police force where on the inside there is more crime than on the outside. And still, members of the ANC defend him, and millions of highly uneducated supporters crying foul. Whether he goes to prison or not, whether he lives or dies, those 22 years will remain imbedded in the country’s DNA, from where it will take more than 9 years to recover, if ever.

  • This man has been ducking and diving for the past decade or two and despite saying he welcomed his day in court and despite him as the then President of SA, approving both the commission and Zondo, he is doing everything in his power to avoid appearing before any judge or commission or to abide by their decisions. I would love to know who is paying for the rent-a-crowd and the MK Vets salaries. Like any desperate SA politician who has spent the past few years looting the States coffers, like Ace etc etc, he blames all his woes on a conspiracy and WMC. Under his watch billions of rand were laundered out of SA to various tax havens, his compound was upgraded costing further millions and his cabinet reshuffles almost crippled the country. Yet his “supporters” see nothing wrong with his actions. That he was a puppet of treasonous forces is beyond doubt but this was the point of the Zondo Commission, to flush out these sycophants. And the only charge is contempt of court. He should consider himself lucky.

  • Oh dear so hard done by. Why will he be allowed to address the nation tomorrow? Please stop giving him and his lapdog Carl Niehaus coverage.

  • And to think that this delusional showerhead once was this country’s No. 1, thanks to the ANC and democracy. For years he was protected by the majority in parliament and his party’s structures. The guy who wanted his day in court and who stated that he would rather go to jail are suddenly singing the tune of a true coward. Sickening.

  • “He states in his affidavit that when he left the Zondo commission last year without permission – and in so breached the Commissions Act – it was because he had to take medication, and because there was a communication lag between his legal team and Zondo, which was not adequately conveyed by his lawyers.”

    Why are we hearing about this only now – some six months after the event. What’s so special about this medicine that it could not have been taken within the precinct of the commission? This is just a load of horse manure.

    “I am a 79-year-old man who suffers from a medical condition that requires constant and intense therapy and attention.”

    What is this mysterious ailment, and why is it so secret? Zuma’s passport should be surrendered, and if not done voluntarily, it should be confiscated, if necessary forcibly. As a convicted felon he must not be allowed to leave South Africa until he has served his sentence.

    As for having to go to Cuba or Russia for treatment, just more hogwash. South Africa’s medical profession is as good as anywhere else on the planet. He conveniently ignores the fact that all doctors take the Hippocratic oath or its equavalent, in which, amongst other things, they undertake to do no harm to their patients.

    For someone who said he was prepared to go to prison, he’s just a whining, whingeing old hypocrit. As mentioned in another comment, to avoid the possibility of being infected with Covid-19, he can be put in solitary confinement.

  • “This unprecedented and cruel regime ” Is it Mr Zuma? Please! , now his health takes a turn for the worst. What a surprise . Send in a couple of police helicopters now!

  • Suddenly, reality has hit Jacob Zuma hard. Look at him flailing desperately around, trying to evade justice.Blaming everyone and everything, he willfully cannot see that his dilemma is entirely of his own making! Well done to the highest court in the land.

  • This narcissistic sociopath has been giving the legal system the middle finger for years and only has his self seeking and enrichment at heart. Now that the law has shut down his nonsense he suddenly is sick, old and scared of the consequences. He should have thought of that before he started his victim mentality whining, blaming and attacking everyone but himself.

  • This is a very dated bit of wisdom. Update the names to fit….

    ‘You have George W. Bush
    Johnny Cash
    Bob Hope
    Steve Wonder
    South Africa!
    You have Winnie Mandela
    Some Cash
    Little Hope
    No wonder!’

  • I love the fact that he is “sort of” starting to soften his tone. It makes me think he REALLY does not want to spend time in jail. Even if it might be a short and cushy stay.
    Kry vir jou oom.

  • It is apparent Zuma has not refuted any statements made by HIS foundation. Nor is he distancing himself from the MKVA stance or his new spokesperson (Not Jimmy) Mzwandile.
    If any court gives this man time of day it will be wasting tax payers money. Send him to jail- is this not the man who not so lying ago said he is not afraid for imprisonment. – now he grovels.

  • [07/03, 12:53] Roelf: Matthew 18:19. Please pray to God that Prez Ramaposa kindly Pardon Jacob Zuma today or tomorrow asap, but before Monday🙏🙏🙏🙌🙌🙌
    [07/03, 12:57] Roelf: Let the old man go to Nkandla, to rest. This is NOT our battle!!! But need NO bloodshed whatsoever. The Judge shall Judge. Who on Earth has done nothing wrong Ever. Let the One who has a Clean Record, throw the first stone. Amen🙏

  • The great fearless freedom fighter that would rather go to jail than appear at Zondo is now begging for a medical pass for an unspecified illness.

    The court will listen, hopefully just to follow process.

    Then : the prison can put him in the medical wing.

  • Why is it that the average person in South Africa , be it of any skin colour, is not a position to indulge the courts to any meaningful effect whatsoever? What has WMC to do with a contempt of court conviction?

  • I suspect, like me, most of South African citizenry won’t pay a dime for the show until the fat lady starts to sing. Despite all the legal imperatives which would see anyone one else face the consequences we the people have no clue what the outcome will be. No faith. No understanding of the forces at play. Thats quite an indictment on our constitution, that we have no surety for the rule of law.

    • And I read this morning that this is true. Now it seems things are going back to court to deliberate.

      From a broader perspective, sights should now be turning to the illegality of the courts and justice system for not performing their duties according to the constitution. In other words, the new criminal in the story to obfuscate everything could be the SA Justice system. I call it intellectual judo -:while the South Agrican Justice system falls about itself, the primary criminal with 800 plus charges against him will have to wait it out in freedom.

  • Zuma and co.’s utterances usually remind me that: “When you die, the pain and suffering are borne by those around you.

    It’s the same when you’re stupid.”

    • But the Buddhists believe that one pays for it in the next life and an evil person comes back as a dog in an Indian slum or some such thing.