This is a watershed moment for Jacob Zuma, the courts, and Bheki Cele. The rule of law in South Africa has been severely tested in the last eight days, as the former president rejected an arrest warrant issued by the country’s highest court. However, all indications are that Wednesday will be Msholozi’s “final day of freedom.”
Yesterday, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argued in court that Mr. Zuma’s arrest is already “overdue.” Accepting ConCourt’s account of events, he explained that Zuma should be arrested on Wednesday.
“Since Sunday, Zuma has been in an ongoing breach of the present order, let alone the order for which he was already convicted of. But he has been in breach of the present order. Mr. Zuma must go present himself by Sunday 4 July. That’s the ruling, if he doesn’t… the day after, he must be arrested by police: There is no ambiguity in the order.”
“Zuma can approach the Concourt today, tomorrow to stay the sentence. He can even do it by letter. The ConCourt is the appropriate alternative. The current judge shouldn’t be asked to make a decision.”
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi has told the High Court in Pietermaritzburg that Jacob Zuma must be arrested before the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday, 7 July.
— Thobelani Ncapai 🇿🇦🇹🇿 (@ThobelaniNcapai) July 6, 2021
We’ve been down this road before: With the end of ConCourt’s monumental judgement handed down on 30 June, Jacob Zuma appeared to have no way out. Of course, he then devised a means of escape. But there is rising optimism that the 79-year-old will have exhausted his options before the day is done — thanks in part to Bheki Cele.
This is not motivated by the police minister’s outstanding job, on the contrary. By postponing the arrest of the former head of state – and writing a letter to ConCourt to ‘postpone’ a full course of action – Cele has put himself in danger of committing a contempt of court offence if Zuma is not held before Wednesday is through.