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Zuma’s lawyer pleads for more time as clock ticks for former president to be jailed

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Jacob Zuma has asked the Constitutional Court to issue a directive suspending its order that he be imprisoned pending the outcome of his Pietermaritzburg High Court application on Friday.

File Picture: Jacob Zuma

FORMER president Jacob Zuma has asked the Constitutional Court to issue a directive suspending its order that he be imprisoned pending the outcome of his Pietermaritzburg High Court application on Friday.

In a three-page letter to Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday, Zuma’s lawyer, Mongezi Ntanga of Ntanga Nkuhlu Inc Attorneys, also requested the apex court to alternatively stay the order committing him to 15 months’ imprisonment until his application to rescind the judgment is heard on Monday.

”The SAPS has indicated that it will be executing the orders in paragraph three and four of the Constitutional Court tonight (Wednesday night) despite the pending judgment on whether the execution of the committal orders should be suspended,” reads the letter.

The orders Ntanga referred to found Zuma guilty of the crime of contempt of court for failure to comply with the order made by the apex court and sentencing him to undergo 15 months’ imprisonment.

Ntanga also said the Constitutional Court’s directives issued on Saturday do not indicate the status of the orders jailing Zuma for 15 months and giving him five calendar days to report at either the Nkandla or Johannesburg Central police stations, for their station commanders or other officers in charge to ensure that he is immediately delivered to a correctional centre to commence serving his sentence.

”There is prejudice to the life of our client (Zuma) in the event of the judgment of the high court ordering a suspension of the committal orders, alternatively the Constitutional Court rescinding its orders,” Ntanga said.

According to Ntanga, they understand that the Constitutional Court may direct the suspension of its orders, which if granted would be binding to the high court, to prevent Zuma being arrested prior to all legal processes being finalised.

Ntanga said they were awaiting the Constitutional Court’s urgent response.

On Friday, Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni is expected to rule on Zuma’s bid seeking a suspension order of the apex court’s committal order.

Judgment in the matter was reserved on Tuesday and Ntanga indicated that no holding position was ordered by Judge Mnguni pending the delivery of his ruling.