Cele: Onus now on ConCourt to give clarity on Zuma arrest

Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole have written to the Constitutional Court following the litigation filed by Jacob Zuma.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday said that the onus was now on the Constitutional Court to give officers clarity on when they must arrest former President Jacob Zuma.

Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole have written to the Constitutional Court following the litigation filed by Zuma.

The apex court ruled last week that the statesman should go to jail for 15 months.

The Constitutional Court also said that if Zuma failed to hand himself over by Sunday, Cele’s team has to handcuff him by Wednesday midnight.

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However, Cele’s lawyer said that they would wait for Zuma’s separate application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court and the Constitutional Court to unfold before taking action.

There seems to be confusion about what the police’s next step will be; will they act on the instruction of the Constitutional Court last week and arrest Zuma tomorrow?

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Tuesday, Cele said that if there was no response or clarity from the courts, he would make the arrest on Wednesday.

“If they don’t give us direction, we do have direction that ends at midnight on Wednesday. If Mr Zuma does not hand himself over, the South African Police will have to arrest him.”

But, the police minister’s lawyer, Johan Schalkwyk, told Radio702 on Tuesday that they could not make an arrest and needed court processes to unfold first.

“He is a man of influence and there is a bit of tension and unrest currently panning out in the Nkandla area and you can even see for yourself what chaos may erupt should police move in to make an arrest. It appears politicians are above the law and if this was an ordinary citizen, he would have been behind bars by now.”

On Monday, Cele told a media briefing outside a vaccination drive programme in Soweto that the officers were not scared of Zuma’s supporters but were trying to avoid bloodshed.

Cele’s lawyer has called the Zuma situation a unique and legal matrix situation.

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