DURBAN – One of the parties that has been asked by the Constitutional Court (Concourt) to make submissions regarding the “illegal detention” of former president Jacob Zuma and his rescission application says few options can be applied to remedy the situation.
In its papers filed to the court and seen by Independent Media on Sunday, Democracy in Action (DIA), represented on a pro bono basis by Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC and Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, a former acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority, told the court it was commendable that it has asked all parties to make these inputs.
The inputs require parties to argue whether the court is bound by international laws in detaining Zuma at Estcourt prison.
The NGO stated its case and in papers said not even a mooted presidential pardon would be helpful, as the constitution of the court was ignored in the Zuma case.
“A presidential pardon would, in our submission, not be one such remedy, because it would not cure the arbitrary nature, and therefore unlawfulness, of the detention by reason of this court forsaking normal procedures established by law,” DIA in its court papers.
“The detention was preceded by a court process albeit, in our respectful submission, a flawed one, since no trial as ordinarily understood was held.”
Quoting the Constitutional Court judgement of June 29, which was read by Judge Sisi Kampepe, DIA said that even if Zuma, through his many statements about the court, had belittled it, the deviation from granting him a trial before he was sentenced was illegal.
“No amount of ’extraordinary’ disdain for the apex court can, in our respectful submission, validly and reasonably justify this court giving short shrift to the applicant’s right to be detained without fair trial … Trial courts exist in our judicial system so that every litigant can have the option to challenge a decision of the trial court in higher courts.”
Among those who have filed their papers before the August 18 deadline set by the Concourt is the legal team of Zuma, which includes Advocate Dali Mpofu and Advocate Thabani Masuku SC.
In their papers, they emphatically said the detention of Zuma without a trial was in breach of international law, to which South Africa was a signatory, and it should be corrected.