It almost defies belief. But the beleaguered COGTA Minister is scrambling to get her legal papers together after it emerged that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma could possibly be hit with a contempt of court charge on Thursday. It would be the fourth damning legal blow of the week for NDZ.
Court cases for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – what is the latest?
Last month, Dlamini-Zuma was instructed to supply an affidavit in response to papers served by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association. Their challenge against the cigarette ban is still ongoing, but their hopes of progressing swiftly with the case have been dashed by the minister.
She has failed to submit the necessary documents in support of her defence. This has left her open to a 'contempt of court' case, should FITA decide this is the way forward. John Steenhuisen, the DA leader, has branded Dlamini-Zuma a 'Constitutional delinquent' for missing the 3 June deadline.
The government have since argued that the veteran politician should be "given extra time to provide a record of the decision" to uphold the cigarette ban under Level 3, through Regulation 45.
Yesterday we served our Supplementary Notice of Motion and Founding Affidavit on the Respondents as per the Court Order of 12 May 2020. We now await the filing of the Respondents’ Answering Affidavit by no later than 3 June 2020.— FITA (@fita_sa) May 30, 2020
How NDZ racked up a legal nightmare
On Tuesday, the NCC leader was slapped with a costs order, after the lockdown laws drafted by her department and fellow Cabinet members were declared 'invalid'. The shock judgement has forced the government to consider an appeal, or alternatively, rewrite the restrictions within a 14-day period.
Incredibly, Dlamini-Zuma was hit by a quick double-whammy on Wednesday. Her battle to enforce state quarantine protocols – which force some people to self-isolate at government facilities – was crushed by the Pretoria High Court. The DA also confirmed they were building a legal case against NDZ, which aims to coax her into lifting the ban on hairdressers from returning to work.
On top of legal cases, Parliamentary action looms too. Dlamini-Zuma has been challenged on her performance in the National Assembly this year, and has also been accused of violating the ethics code. With great power comes great responsibility – and, unfortunately for NDZ, there's also a huge amount of scrutiny.