Zuma's daughter Dudu ZumaANC

Photo via Twitter: @Dudu Zuma-Sambudla

Zuma returns to court on Tuesday, but can he really win his freedom back?

Jacob Zuma thinks he’s onto a winner with this first legal challenge against ConCourt’s decision to jail him. But the experts beg to differ…

Zuma's daughter Dudu ZumaANC

Photo via Twitter: @Dudu Zuma-Sambudla

At the best of times, it’s never easy keeping up with Jacob Zuma and his various legal battles – but now he has launched two parallel legal challenges to overturn a judgment handed down one week ago, the waters have darkened even further. On Tuesday, Msholozi will fight his case at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, as he seeks a ‘rescission’ order.

Jacob Zuma back in court on Tuesday

Zuma has applied to the court for a rescission of the ruling in which the Constitutional Court sentenced him to 15 months in jail, right at the end of June. The 79-year-old has spent the last seven days rallying against the verdict, imploring supporters to ‘defend his rights’. The reckless gatherings and protests outside of Nkandla have stirred controversy.

On home turf – albeit virtually – Zuma feels like he has a real chance of success when it comes to overturning his looming incarceration. In his application to the High Court, uBaba argues that he has been ‘detained without trial’ – a defence which conveniently forgets the countless opportunities he had to make court submissions and Commission appearances.

“Detention without trial was outlawed with the advent of the current constitution, which makes a break with our ugly past. My pending incarceration is imminent in a matter of days or hours. There are no compelling reasons why I should not be afforded the protection of an interdict or stay of incarceration pending the determination of my court applications.” 

Here’s why the experts say Jacob Zuma ‘will fail’

But does Jacob Zuma – the self-proclaimed ‘prosecuted president’ – stand any chance of success today? Zondo Commission Secretary Itumeleng Mosala said in court papers filed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday that the Inquiry opposed Jacob’s application for an interdict to prevent his arrest, for the following reasons:

  • – The court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain such a case – a High Court can’t overrule ConCourt
  • – The applicant has failed to satisfy the test for rescission both under two separate legal guidelines
  • – Jacob Zuma simply ‘does not satisfy the requirements for an interim interdict’, either…
  • – Mosala said that understanding the context of its full factual history reveals that it (the application) is a continuation of the pattern of abuse by the applicant of the court process – and that, Courts should not entertain such abuse any longer.

Court bid set to fall flat

It’s quite likely that the Zondo Commission – who are challenging Zuma’s application on Tuesday – will again prove to be a costly thorn in the former president’s side. His chances of success are limited, according to Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos. The academic believes that JZ has filed a rescission order ‘in bad faith’ – and it won’t end well for him.

“A rescission order will not be granted on the basis that the court misinterpreted or misapplied the law, or failed to consider the possible impact of the order on the affected party’s rights. Rescission is for the correction of a mistake, not to substitute the courts original view about the law with one preferred by the affected party.”

“To the extent that Mr. Zuma’s application argues that the majority judgment was wrong and that the minority judgment should have prevailed, it aims to sneak an appeal into its rescission application and will not fly.” | Pierre de Vos