IRR to SCA in Zuma matter

15 August 2022 - Today the IRR will make representations to the Supreme Court of Appeal, as a friend of the court, in the case of former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole.

Today the IRR will make representations to the Supreme Court of Appeal, as a friend of the court, in the case of former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole.

The IRR presents a crisp legal argument to show that the Department of Correctional Services did not have the necessary kind of jurisdiction needed to grant Mr Zuma medical parole. Instead, if Mr Zuma wished to escape imprisonment the proper channel would be to go back to the court whose order he had contemptuously disobeyed, namely the Constitutional Court, to make his case for release.

Ordinary South Africans have a real historical reason to think twice about cases in which someone is put behind bars without facing an ordinary criminal trial, as happened to Zuma. However, it is no good to either misrepresent the proceedings against Zuma as a neo-apartheid injustice, as his supporters have done, nor to ignore the distinguished features of contempt proceedings, as some of Mr Zuma’s critics have done.

Measured from beginning to end, the upshot is that contempt-of-court cases such as this are neither purely civil (typically when parties sue one another) or criminal, but rather an admixture that makes them a third kind of case, “sui generis”. There are special rules that apply to such cases and the IRR simply asks that these rules apply to Mr Zuma too, for nobody is above the law.

Said IRR Head of Campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “A legal expert told me that laymen such as myself could think of it like this: the parents have ‘grounded’ their child for the weekend and left him in the care of a babysitter. But then on Saturday night the babysitter lets him out. That is undermining the proper authority. In this case there are no children and no parents, but there is an authority vested in the courts, which was undermined when Mr Zuma was granted medical parole by a body with no jurisdiction to do so.”

 
* Afrikaans-language media are requested to retain the acronym ‘IRR’, rather than using ‘IRV’.

Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Mlondi Mdluli, IRR Campaign Manager- 071 148 2971; mlondi@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968

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