Former South African President, Jacob Zuma, on Tuesday asked a regional court to block his arrest as he pursues legal challenges against a prison sentence.
The development came just a week after the country’s constitutional court sentenced the ex-President to a 15-month jail term for contempt of court.
Zuma had defied an order to give evidence at a corruption inquiry in February.
The court had instructed the police to arrest Zuma by the end of Wednesday if he did not hand himself in, sparking angry reactions from his supporters and laying bare deep divisions in the governing African National Congress (ANC).
However, Zuma urged the constitutional court to cancel its sentence and approached the high court for an interdict to prevent police from arresting him until the constitutional court hears his “rescission application” on July 12.
In legal arguments before the Pietermaritzburg High Court, the former President’s lawyer asked it to grant the interdict, taking into account the volatile situation at Zuma’s rural home.
“There isn’t any other court above it and that’s why jurisdiction is now being argued in the Pietermartizburg court.
“We don’t know exactly when the court will rule but it’s after that the people will have a clearer indication of whether the former president will in fact be arrested,” the lawyer told the court.