Mpofu: Zondo commission has no business to try oppose Zuma's bid to avoid jail

Dali Mpofu is appearing virtually before Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni in the Pietermaritzburg High Court representing former President Jacob Zuma in his bid to set aside a Constitutional Court ruling that last week sentenced him to 15 months of imprisonment.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives for the formal opening of Parliament in Cape Town on 12 February 2015. Picture: AFP.

DURBAN - Jacob Zuma’s lawyer Dali Mpofu has referred to the state capture commission and the Helen Suzman Foundation as “busy-bodies” who have no business to oppose the former president’s bid to stay out of jail - pending the outcome of his rescission application in the Constitutional Court.

Mpofu is appearing virtually before Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni in the Pietermaritzburg High Court amid Zuma’s attempts to set aside a Constitutional Court ruling that last week sentenced him to 15 months of imprisonment.

Mpofu is calling on the court to suspend a directive by the apex court that has given Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole until Wednedsay to arrest Zuma and take him to the Westville Correctional Services Centre in Durban so that he can commence his prison sentence.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and the state capture commission have opposed Zuma’s application - saying the Pietermaritzburg High Court did not have the requisite jurisdiction to deal with the matter – but Mpofu said this was not so.

“Parties that are constitutionally empowered, including the president, to assess the security situation, to have secured the warrants, have found it necessary in the interests of justice to hold the execution of this warrant in abeyance. Then what business is it of an NGO and some commission to oppose?”

Mpofu also argued that the Pietermaritzburg High Court had the jurisdiction to deal with Zuma’s application in terms of Section 172 (1) (b) of the Constitution which dealt with powers of the courts on constitutional matters.

“It does not matter that the main action is before another court, in this case – the Constitutional Court. This is so because of the nature of proceedings pendente lite (pending litigation) – the actual litigation pending - need not be in your lordship’s jurisdiction.”

He also said the state capture commission should have let the matter go when it secured an order compelling Zuma to appear before it. President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cele and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola – who are also cited as respondents in the matter - have elected not to oppose Zuma’s application.

Follow the Eyewitness News blog on Jacob Zuma’s court bid here.

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