Last roll of the dice for Jacob Zuma

Lungani Zungu

Jacob Zuma will be at the Pietermaritzburg High Court today in what has been described as a last roll of the dice to stop his arrest.

The former president will square off with the state capture commission and the Constitutional Court, which sentenced him to 15 months in prison last Tuesday. Zuma drew the wrath of the apex court after he defied its court order telling him to appear at the state capture commission inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The ConCourt gave him five days, which expired on Sunday, to hand himself over to police in Nkandla or Johannesburg. 

The hearing will be held virtually and will be streamed live on the judiciary’s YouTube channel.

Zuma, who had previously said he was not scared of jail, frantically rushed to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday to block his arrest.

The court also instructed Police Minister Bheki Cele and national commissioner General Khehla Sitole to arrest Zuma if he did not hand himself over.

Should the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismiss Zuma’s application then Cele would have no choice but to arrest his comrade. 

Zuma also applied to the ConCourt to rescind its decision to sentence him to time behind bars. This matter will be heard on Monday.

In his court papers, Zuma argued that the Pietermaritzburg High Court had the powers to enforce or stop the execution of any order of the court, even the order of the highest court in the land. 

On Sunday, the 79 year old likened his arrest to a death sentence because of his old age and his ailing health.

The state capture commission of inquiry described his latest bid as a continuation of Zuma’s pattern of abuse of court processes.

“It is, in its bare form, a strategy on the applicant’s part to avoid the inevitable: serving his prison sentence,” read the commission’s affidavit.

The nation will know before the end of the week whether the man who once led the country as president will end up in jail or not.