Cape Town – Former president Jacob Zuma is set to take his fight over his 15-month imprisonment for contempt of the Constitutional Court to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
This was revealed by the Jacob Zuma Foundation on Saturday, a day after the Constitutional Court dismissed Zuma’s application to rescind the court’s judgment.
The foundation said Zuma had been in consultation with his legal team on various recent developments.
“He has given his lawyers instructions to take the legalisation of detention without trial by Acting Chief Justice Zondo and the ConCourt to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” it said in a tweet.
Zuma’s woes started in December 2020 when the Zondo Commission approached the ConCourt on an urgent basis, seeking an order to the effect that Zuma was legally obliged to comply with the commission’s directives and summonses and appear before it to testify.
The matter was unopposed and Zuma refused to participate in the proceedings, but he was ordered to attend the commission and co-operate with its work.
When Zuma did not comply, the commission instituted contempt of court proceedings against him and he was found to be in contempt on June 29.
However, two days before handing himself to prison, the former president filed an application seeking the reconsideration and rescission of the order made in the contempt proceedings.
Zuma did not hand himself in to prison authorities until July 7.
In his application, Zuma said the order of imprisonment constituted cruel and degrading punishment, considering his personal health challenges, old age and risks posed by Covid-19.
He also asked the court to afford him a “proper” opportunity to present evidence in relation to the question of whether direct imprisonment was an appropriate remedy for the crime of contempt of court, among other things.
But, the majority ruling on Friday read by Justice Sisi Khampepe said Zuma has met neither the requirements of a rescission nor the requirements of one as governed by the common law.
“It is unfortunate, to say the very least, that Mr Zuma failed to bring the submissions with which he now arms himself to this court before we reached this point,” Khampepe said.