By News 24.com
Dali Mpofu, lawyer to South Africa’s jailed ex-president Jacob Zuma has told the Constitutional Court that it made “fundamental rescindable errors” in jailing Zuma.
Mpofu spent more than five hours on Monday trying to convince the justices that Zuma’s section 35 rights in the Constitution were denied.
He said Zuma deserves the right to a fair trial.
Mpofu, according to News 24.com, began his argument by telling the court it may have “exceeded the bounds of the Constitution”.
The advocate said it was the Constitution that is supreme and not the Constitutional Court.
He also accused the court of breaching section 35 of the Constitution.
“This court made fundamental rescindable errors,” he argued.
Zuma is seeking a rescission of the contempt ruling made against him by the Constitutional Court.
Justice Zukisa Tshiqi asked Mpofu if there was a remedy of rescindment available to a litigant who deliberately decided not to oppose an application.
Mpofu responded that litigants have the right to assert their rights at any point in the legal process.
Tshiqi again said the former president was notified that there was an application.
He was also made aware that the order being sought was to hold him in contempt, but he elected not to participate.
Mpofu said it cannot be that Zuma was now “completely helpless”, adding that he had a right to seek remedy.
Mpofu also argued that apartheid president PW Botha, who was criminally charged by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission when he defied its summons for him to appear before it, had been treated better than Zuma.
He said Botha went to court and had also exercised his right to appeal.
“Former president Zuma does not have that. He does not have even the right which this court said is so sacrosanct,” Mpofu argued.
“PW Botha committed the crime that former president Zuma is accused of,” he said.
He said a person who stole a loaf of bread and someone who murdered a million people were equally entitled to section 35 rights.
“Whether you are talking about conviction or sentence stage, we must ask ourselves if section 35 rights were denied,” he added.
Mpofu said if the State Capture Inquiry wanted Zuma to be imprisoned, it should have proceeded in terms of the Commission’s Act, instead of going straight to the Constitutional Court.
“The commission should have done what was done to PW Botha,” he said.
On Friday, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg dismissed a bid by Zuma to have his arrest order stayed until the rescission application before the apex court was concluded.
Judge Jerome Mnguni said Zuma’s lawyers had approached the wrong court in their challenge of the ruling by the highest court in the land.