LISTEN | Former president Jacob Zuma released on medical parole

05 September 2021 - 16:30
Former president Jacob Zuma has been released on medical parole.
Former president Jacob Zuma has been released on medical parole.
Image: Lulama Zenzile

Former president Jacob Zuma has been released from prison on medical parole, the department of correctional services confirmed on Sunday. 

This comes 58 days after he was admitted as an inmate at the Estcourt Correctional Services facility in KwaZulu-Natal.

The department said in a statement: “Medical parole placement for Mr Zuma means that he will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires.”

LISTEN | JZ Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi, provides comment: 

The department said there was nothing untoward about Zuma’s release.

“Section 75(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, affords the national commissioner a responsibility to place under correctional supervision or day parole, or grant parole or medical parole to a sentenced offender serving a sentence of incarceration for 24 months or less. The national commissioner is also in terms of section 52 empowered to prescribe conditions of parole.

“Medical parole’s eligibility for Mr Zuma is impelled by a medical report received by the department of correctional services. Apart from being terminally ill and physically incapacitated, inmates suffering from an illness that severely limits their daily activity or self-care can also be considered for medical parole,” the department added.

Zuma started serving his sentence in July after he was found guilty of contempt of court for failure to comply with an order of the Constitutional Court to honour a summons to appear before the state capture commission. 

He was sentenced to 15 months behind bars and spent several weeks of incarceration in the medical wing of the prison before he was moved to an external hospital for further treatment. 

Two weeks into his sentence, Zuma was granted “compassionate leave” which saw him being allowed to leave prison to attend his brother's funeral in Nkandla.

The department of correctional services stressed that medical parole, was however, not without conditions.

“Medical parole can only be revoked if an offender does not comply with the placement conditions. We want to reiterate that placement on medical parole is an option available to all sentenced offenders provided they meet all the requirements,” said the department.

It called on the public “to afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment”. ​

The JG Zuma Foundation welcomed the decision to release the former president.

“He is still in hospital right now. A more detailed statement will be issued in due course after consultation with the legal team of President Zuma,” the foundation said.

Zuma’s release has been met with mixed emotions.

“If he is genuinely ill, I’m not one to celebrate anyone’s ill-health, but if he isn’t and it’s another Shabir Shaik situation then, well, ain’t that just some unsurprising sh*t,” wrote former DA MP Phumzile van Damme.

“Thank you God,” tweeted Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina.

Carl Niehaus of the now disbanded MKMVA said: “As we bade our final farewell to the president of MKMVA, comrade Kebby Maphatsoe, we received the news that President  Zuma has been released on medical parole. Nxamalala should have been released unconditionally,” said Niehaus, referring to Zuma by his clan name. 

“But still it's good news. Cde. Kebby would have been so happy!” 

The UDM’s Bantu Holomisa said: “Let him go rest at home. Ulawuleke Nxamalala,” which loosely translates to “be governable, Zuma.”

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma welcomed the news with a tweet wishing Zuma a speedy recovery. 

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