The South African Human Rights Commission has asked that Zuma be arrested and held in contempt of court for failing to fully honour a settlement agreement, made by order of the Equality Court, relating to “hate speech” remarks he made in July last year.
In terms of the agreement, signed by Zuma in May this year, he was to pay two under-resourced schools R30 000 each and issue a written apology for his comments in which he accused Derek Hanekom and Pravin Gordhan of being sell-outs.
Zuma had labelled Hanekom an askari who was “no better than a vile dog” and Gordhan a racist who viewed black people as nothing more than “k…..s”.
The matter was back in court on Tuesday.
The commission’s legal representative, Pavershree Padayachee, told Durban Equality Court Magistrate Irfaan Khalil that Zuma had not paid a final instalment of R12 500 to Ohlange High School in Inanda.
“While he has now complied with the rest of the order, this was after we had to make several attempts to make sure of the compliance,” she said.
“He is showing disrespect for this court, the commission and the public. He is a high-profile person and, surely, he would have the necessary mechanisms to advise the court and the commission about his circumstances.
“It seems he thinks he can do [ignore the court order] because of who he is.”
“Get into your car and drive to him”
The commission wants the magistrate to issue a warrant of arrest for Zuma and impose a suspended sentence for contempt of court.
Zuma’s attorney Ayanda Mkhwanazi said he could not get hold of his client and did not know where he was or “if he is alive or not alive”.
“We have not been able to get hold of him. We have sent SMSes, made calls and sent an email. There has been no feedback.”
Mkhwanazi said the money still owing was not a large amount and asked the magistrate to adjourn the hearing until January when, hopefully, Zuma would have made the final payment.
Magistrate Khalil agreed to this.
Referring to the fact that the Equality Act was aimed at reconciliation – and that Zuma had issued the written apology and had made payment of 80% of the fine – he said he was reluctant to issue a warrant of arrest.
Khalil said he would give Zuma “one last chance” and directed Mkhwanazi to take more steps – “even get into your car and drive to him” – to get hold of his client.
“It is highly unlikely that I will accept your submissions again. If payment is not made, the contempt of court application will proceed on 22 January,” he said.