The Constitutional Court on Friday turned down the rescission request by former president Jacob Zuma of his 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
“Mr. Zuma has not met the statutory requirements of a rescission,” said justice Sisi Virginia Khampepe when she handed down the Constitutional Court majority ruling.
The 79-year-old former president, who was imprisoned on 7 July 2021, has been granted medical parole.
Justice Khampepe said three judgments were written on the matter.
There were two dissenting judgments that found the incarceration order was invalid because the sentence was meted out without a trial.
Justice Leona Valerie Theron and Justice Chris Jafta agree that Zuma was incarcerated without a trial without an option of an appeal, which they contend made the ruling “unconstitutional”.
However, Justice Khampepe said the majority judgment found that Zuma had “elected” not to attend the trial and rejected his rescission application as “litigious skulduggery”.
The majority agreed with the commission of inquiry into state capture, which contended that rescission was aimed at protecting a litigant who was unaware of proceedings affecting them, not a litigant who deliberately chose not to oppose.
Zuma’s non-participation was found to have little to do with him being precluded – financially or otherwise – from participating, and everything to do with his conscientious objections.
The Constitutional Court agreed that such objections cannot render its “judgment and order erroneously granted” as claimed by Zuma.
Justice Khampepe said the majority dismissed Zuma’s request for rescission of his prison term for contempt of court with costs.
Zuma’s parole is now the subject of a court matter.