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’Let’s be as calm as possible’: Lamola warns against attacks on judiciary after Zuma ruling


Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has called for calm and restraint from all South Africans after the high court judgment which ordered that outspoken former president Jacob Zuma return to jail.

File Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

JUSTICE Minister Ronald Lamola has appealed for peace and calm across South Africa following the North Gauteng High Court ruling that ordered that former president Jacob Zuma return to jail to serve his sentence.

The court in Pretoria on Wednesday ordered that the outspoken former president return to prison to serve the 15-month jail term, which was imposed by the Constitutional Court in June for contempt.

Violence engulfed the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July after Zuma was jailed, with more than 300 people losing their lives in the widespread riots. Government has been beefing up security deployments, fearing another outburst of anger.

On Thursday, Lamola warned that criticising the judiciary would only inflame the situation.

“We call for calm and restraint from all South Africans after the court judgment with regards to the former president. It is important that we allow the due process of the law to take its course. The parties themselves are engaging on the matter and court processes,” said Lamola at a media briefing of the government’s justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster.

“Inflammatory statements and unwarranted attacks on the judiciary will not help the process. So let’s give the process space and time and refrain from those inflammatory statements. Let us maintain calm as a country.

“In this moment, we need to be as calm as possible,” he stressed and begged South Africans to allow the due processes of the law to unfold.

On Wednesday, the Department of Correctional Services and Zuma announced separately that they would be appealing the ruling of the North Gauteng High Court that nullified the medical parole of the former head of state.

After studying the judgment throughout Wednesday, the department said there are prospects of seeing a higher court ruling in its favour as some acts were “misrepresented” by the presiding judge.

Meanwhile, government’s justice, crime prevention, and security cluster on Thursday cautioned that all recourse sought in the wake of the North Gauteng High Court ruling must be pursued through legal routes.

“We have noted the DCS (Department of Correctional Services) decision to appeal the judgment. As the cluster, we wish to reiterate our confidence in our constitutional democracy that provides that all people are equal before the law,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at the briefing.

“The separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary are the bedrock of our Constitution, and our courts function without fear or favour as they entrench the rule of law. Any form of recourse must follow appropriate channels within the confines of the law.”

Hours after the court ruled that Zuma’s medical parole is null and void, his foundation said his lawyers have already delivered an application to appeal “on the grounds that the judgment is clearly wrong”.

This means that the former head of state won’t be going back to jail until the appeal is heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on a date yet to be determined.

The South African economy suffered massively in July when riots erupted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces following the incarceration of Zuma. Numerous shopping malls and businesses were looted and vandalised.

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