The former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma on Friday argued against the 15-month imprisonment term saying, among other things, his right to life would be at stake.
Zuma was recently found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months in jail by South Africa’s Constitutional Court.
On Friday, Zuma also urgently applied to the high court in Pietermaritzburg to stay the orders that required him to turn himself in by Sunday and to interdict the police from arresting him pending his rescission application to the Constitutional Court.
He has also asked that the stay of imprisonment be kept in place pending a high court constitutional challenge to the “common law distinction of civil and contempt proceedings”. Read his court papers:
_I seek an order declaring that it is not compatible with the constitution for a person convicted of the crime of civil contempt to be sentenced to any term of imprisonment without conducting a civil or criminal trial in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act._
In his founding affidavit to the Constitutional Court, the former ANC leader also said his health was unstable and the incarceration order threatened his life. Said, Zuma:
_In the present circumstances, it is the right to life itself which may be at stake. It is, therefore, no exaggeration to label mine as cruel and unusual punishment._
Zuma said his medical condition required “constant and intense therapy and attention”.
He was failed or neglected to appear the Zondo Commission that was investigating him over corruption allegedly committed during his 9-year tenure as president.
Zuma said he did not appear before the commission because he did not believe it had been constitutionally established and explained how he had come to the view that its chair was biased against him.