'If we see Zuma playing golf, then you're right': Jessie Duarte on Zuma's parole likened to Schabir Shaik's

09 September 2021 - 07:30
ANC acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte. File photo.
ANC acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte. File photo.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has weighed in on former president Jacob Zuma's medical parole being likened to the release of his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik. 

Duarte was addressing the media this week on the outcomes of the ANC's lekgotla and the party's reaction to the Electoral Commission's (IEC) decision to open the process of the candidate nomination system.

She rejected assumptions that Zuma would behave like Shaik, saying the ANC will be proven wrong if Zuma, among other things, is seen playing golf. 

“I think there are different circumstances to different situations. So if every situation is going to have a particular narrative, we are not going to allow ourselves to understand what the truth is and what isn’t,” said Duarte.

“The Schabir Shaik behaviour may have been wrong, but we cannot assume that comrade Zuma is not ill and will behave like Schabir Shaik. I think that’s not quite right. 

“All I’m saying is that the world is much bigger than one perspective. If there is a mistake then we will be wrong. If we see comrade Zuma going to play golf, for instance, then, of course, you are right and we are wrong,” she said.

Zuma was placed on medical parole on Sunday after the department of correctional services received a medical report on the former president's health.

Correctional services commission Arthur Fraser admitted on Wednesday that he had overruled a recommendation that Zuma not be granted parole.

He will complete the rest of his 15-month prison sentence in a “system of community corrections”.

In June, Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of court and incarcerated at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal. He was handed the sentence by the Constitutional Court after failing to appear at the state capture inquiry.

His former financial adviser Shaik was granted medical parole in 2009 after serving two years of his 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption. His parole expires in 2021.

At the time of his release, Shaik was diagnosed with a terminal illness after his doctors said he was clinically depressed, losing his eyesight, had suffered a stroke and would die from “severe” high blood pressure.

However, after his release, he was seen shopping, dining out, playing golf, and allegedly assaulting a journalist and a caddie with a golf club.