FORMER president Jacob Zuma’s fight to stay out of jail is now heading to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) after the North Gauteng High Court granted him leave to challenge its decision.
Judge Keoagile Matojane on Tuesday heard arguments from Zuma and the Department of Correctional Services’ application for leave to appeal his ruling that the ex-head of state who was released on medical parole, return to jail for contempt of court.
According to Judge Matojane, the department and Zuma’s appeal had a realistic chance to succeed as it raised an important point of public law.
He said it merited the SCA’s interpretation of the provisions of the Correctional Services Act.
Judge Matojane said the medical parole was not Zuma’s decision but that of former Correctional Services national commissioner Arthur Fraser.
”He is serving his sentence albeit outside. He needs compassion because of his illness and advanced age,” the judge said.
Judge Matojane granted Zuma and the department leave to appeal to appeal to the SCA.
In arguments in the application for leave to appeal, Zuma’s advocate Dali Mpofu SC again accused the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) of disrespecting the former president.
He said the HSF’s advocate Max du Plessis SC just wanted to insult him gratuitously and that he did not like to be patronised.
Mpofu also accused Du Plessis of being deaf to his client’s arguments.
”Du Plessis is entitled to insult us but he must stick to the facts at the very least,” he said.
Mpofu said Judge Matojane’s ruling lacks bare essence of what a judgment should contain.
He added that the department admitted that it had no prison capable of catering for Zuma’s needs and that the high court effectively imposed a new sentence to his client.
Du Plessis said Zuma continued to offend the Constitutional Court judgment jailing him for 15 months for refusing to comply with ruling compelling him to appear before commission of inquiry into state capture.
He explained that Zuma’s appeal was filed on the afternoon of the judgment and accused the ex-president of not producing all the details of his case earlier.
”You can’t keep a point in cold storage and then microwave it in leave to appeal,” Du Plessis said.
He maintained that Zuma is not liable for medical parole because his condition had stabilised.
The HSF had wanted the application for leave to appeal to be dismissed or that if leave to appeal is granted it should be to the SCA.
Zuma’s opponents want the courts to ensure that the case is expedited and not delayed any further.