Jacob Zuma might be in jail as early as Wednesday if the Pietermaritzburg High Court throws out his application not to be arrested.
The former president was sentenced by the Constitutional Court to 15 months in prison for ignoring a ConCourt order to appear at the state capture commission.
Zuma is now pinning his hopes on the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, and on an application to the Constitutional Court on 12 July.
Despite saying he doesn’t fear prison, Zuma is pleading with the Pietermaritzburg High Court to stop his arrest until his matter is heard in the ConCourt, where he is fighting to have the sentence reversed.
Should the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismiss his last-ditch bid on Tuesday, he should head to Westville prison to begin his sentence ahead of the Constitutional Court hearing the following Monday.
Daniel Witz of Witz Inc told Scrolla.Africa that Zuma would have to be arrested should the high court rule against him on Tuesday.
“He will not escape going to jail if the court throws out his case.”
But Witz said Zuma could choose to apply for bail pending the outcome of the Constitutional Court hearing.
The ConCourt has said it will hear Zuma’s application despite saying its ruling last week was unappealable. But it stated the hearing would be virtual, which could imply it anticipated Zuma appearing from prison.
It also emerged late on Sunday that President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele did not oppose Zuma’s application.
Witz said: “This means nothing for Zuma and his bid not to go to jail.
“Ramaphosa and Cele are saying they are not part of this as the matter involves Zuma and the commission who launched the initial contempt application. The SAPS and other relevant state agencies will abide by the court’s decision.”
In a show of force earlier on Sunday in Nkandla, Zuma addressed his scores of supporters, who blatantly ignored the lockdown regulations.
He later held a media briefing with journalists inside his Nkandla home, which controversially cost South African taxpayers R240 million.
“Sending me to prison at the height of the pandemic would be sentencing me to death,” said Zuma.
He visibly became angry when he was asked why he did not warn his supporters against unruly behaviour outside his house.
“What do I have to do with that?” he asked.
He was flanked by his attorney Advocate Dali Mpofu and his loyal daughter Duduzile Zuma, who became his star witness in his rape case in 2006.