Ex-South African President Jacob Zuma Petitions Court to Block Orders for His Arrest

Former South African President Jacob Zuma has petitioned the court to block an order for his arrest.

Zuma's lawyer asked the Pietermaritzburg High court in the KwaZulu-Natal province Tuesday to stop police from arresting Zuma until the Constitutional Court rules on his application to overturn the sentence.

Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months in prison after failing to appear in court before the commission investigating allegations of corruption during his presidency from 2009 to 2018.

According to the order, police must arrest Zuma by midnight on Wednesday.

The court is set to hear Zuma's application on July 12. Zuma's lawyer, Dali Mpofu, argued that Zuma was not deemed a flight risk and said that police minister Bheki Cele had not opposed Zuma's application.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Jacob Zuma Petition
Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal on July 4, 2021. Zuma has petitioned the Constitutional Court to block its order for his arrest after he was found guilty of contempt of court. EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP via Getty Images

Over the weekend, hundreds of Zuma's supporters had gathered outside his homestead in the rural area of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, vowing to prevent any attempts to arrest him. Defying the country's COVID-19 regulations against public gatherings, they grouped together, many without masks, and sang songs praising Zuma's role in the fight against apartheid, South Africa's previous regime of white minority rule.

The African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela which Zuma led from 2007 to 2017, on Tuesday condemned the actions of Zuma's supporters and urged support for the rule of law.

The ANC's National Executive Committee said it deplored the "counter-revolutionary calls for violence and even civil war, parading of armed groups and flagrant display of weapons" outside Zuma's home.

By Tuesday the crowds supporting Zuma had dispersed just a few of Zuma's supporters stood at the entrance to his home.

Several armed police officers could be seen monitoring the area and at least three police vehicles could be seen patrolling around Zuma's home.

Jacob Zuma Court
Former president Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Natal Province, Sunday, July 4, 2021. Zuma has sent in an application to the Constitutional Court to rescind its order sentencing him to 15 months in prison after being found guilty of contempt of court. Shiraaz Mohamed)/AP Photo