Sakeliga state of disaster case: Dlamini-Zuma resorts to desperate delay tactics to avoid jail time


After weeks of being in contempt of a final court order to provide Sakeliga with records of her decision-making about the government’s Covid state of disaster, Dr Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Government, now wants that court order set aside. This constitutes a desperate attempt by the minister to avoid jail time and the delivery of Covid disaster records. 

Sakeliga has already instructed our attorneys to oppose any such court application by Dlamini-Zuma and simultaneously proceed with our own application to find Dlamini-Zuma guilty of contempt of court. Sakeliga will ask the court to make a punitive costs order against the minister. 

In terms of an order that Sakeliga obtained on 9 November 2022, Dlamini-Zuma had to hand over to Sakeliga by 22 December 2022 a variety of records that she relied on when she declared the state of national disaster in March 2020 and repeatedly extended it. The minister has since tried to placate Sakeliga by producing irrelevant records that are already available in the public domain. However, when it became clear that Sakeliga was persisting with a legal process to find the minister guilty of contempt of court and that she was facing jail time, she allegedly appointed a new legal team with the intention of “rescinding and/or varying” the November 2022 court order. 

The apparent grounds on which the minister’s intended application for setting aside is based are incoherent and removed from the facts of the case and legal provisions and therefore characteristic of a delaying tactic to avoid accountability. It also follows a legal battle of more than 2 years in which Sakeliga prevailed, but which was riddled with the government’s abuse of court rules and delay tactics, such as filing irregular notices of complaint and later withdrawing them. 

Attorneys for Sakeliga demanded that the state attorney files the minister’s rescission application by February 6, and indicated that Sakeliga is proceeding with our own application to find Dlamini-Zuma guilty of contempt of court.