Former president Jacob Zuma. File photo: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS
Former president Jacob Zuma. File photo: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS

Former president Jacob Zuma has applied to the Constitutional Court to rescind Tuesday’s ruling which found him in contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison.

Zuma has also made an urgent application to the high court in Pietermaritzburg to stay an order to turn himself in by Sunday or be arrested, and to interdict the police from arresting him pending his rescission application to the Constitutional Court.

Pending the outcome of these applications, Zuma is also seeking a declaration that “in circumstances such as the present” the matter of his alleged contempt of court be conducted in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

This comes after the Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that Zuma was in contempt of court and handed down a 15-month sentence. He was given until Sunday to submit himself to be taken into custody.

On Wednesday, acting deputy chief justice Sisi Khampepe signed a warrant for his committal.

Zuma was found to be in contempt for failing to comply with the Constitutional Court’s earlier order in January that he appear before the state capture commission and give evidence, as per the commission’s lawful summons.

He also declined to participate in the application to compel him to abide by the summons or in the application that he be held in contempt.

Zuma further refused the apex court's directive to make submissions on an appropriate penalty if it decided to hold him in contempt, saying his refusal was a conscientious objection.

In his founding affidavit to the Constitutional Court, which was filed on Friday, Zuma said despite the court’s “strong expression of judicial disdain” for his defiance of its orders, he trusted it would be able to “dig from the depth of its judicial being, to bring the requisite calmness and restraint, and to adjudicate my matter solely based on its legal merits”.

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