South Africa

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Paroled: Jacob Zuma to serve rest of jail sentence in ‘system of community corrections’

Former president Jacob Zuma. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Jailed former president Jacob Zuma (79) has been placed on medical parole, the Department of Correctional Services announced on Sunday, 5 September.

Jacob Zuma’s parole placement comes after the department received a medical report from the former president, according to a  statement released by the Department of Correctional Services.

“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,” it states.

In the department’s statement “system of community corrections” refers to two alternatives to imprisonment in line with South African law, being correctional supervision and parole.

The news of Zuma’s medical parole comes after he was taken to hospital for “medical observation” in August. 

He had been given a 15-month jail term for contempt of court on 29 June 2021 after refusing to testify before the Zondo Commission of inquiry into State Capture.

While Zuma’s “medical observations”  are shrouded in mystery, the former president’s ailment have allegedly worsened since he began his sentence at the Escourt Correctional Services in KwaZulu-Natal.

On the account of his undisclosed ailment, Zuma’s scheduled appearances in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for his long-awaited corruption case have been postponed several times, as the former president has been in and out for medical treatment.

Daily Maverick reported last month that during virtual proceedings  in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, it emerged that the details of Zuma’s condition were unknown and that a letter from Zuma’s doctors did not provide any details.

The NPA, the prosecution and the defence had no details of Zuma’s condition since the letter submitted by his doctor did not provide details. 

The court had agreed to postpone Zuma’s case to 9 and 10 September, and instructed his team to submit a medical report by no later than 20 August. The report should confirm whether Zuma is fit to stand trial, and provide some clarity on his condition, it was stated in court.

The report from Zuma’s doctors was not submitted by the 20 August deadline.  Although the NPA refused the reasons behind his doctor’s request to file on 27 August, the medical report was filed a week later. Its contents remain confidential. 

See the Correctional  Services statement here:

The Correctional Services statement stated: “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.”

This is an option available to all sentenced offenders provided that their risk of re-offending is low and provided that there are arrangements for the offender’s supervisions and care, according to the department.

“We appeal to all South Africans to afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment,” it stated.  

Zuma’s staunch ally, suspended MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus, welcome the decision in a tweet:

The Constitutional Court is yet to make a ruling on Zuma’s application to have his prison term rescinded. DM

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All Comments 31

  • I far prefer the title Former Prisoner Jacob Zuma to his old title Former President Jacob Zuma.

    Hopefully the media updates their byline to fit the facts.

  • Let’s hope that the Pietermarizburg court will this coming week reveal what this mystery medical condition is that Mr Zuma is supposed to have. How can Correctional Services ask SA to accord Zuma dignity when he has treated South Africans with complete disdain?

  • At 79, Zuma will probably be perpetually declared “too unwell” even to appear for the arms deal trials, to say nothing of the revelations at Zondo commission. He will most likely not face any justice and therefore what legal proceedings may ensue will simply be going through the motions with no realistic hope for justice.

  • Frankly I have no interest in Mr Zuma’s medical condition. It offends my dignity to live in a society where justice and the rule of law is neither seen to be done or treated with complete and utter contempt.

    • I disagree. It would have done less damage to our fragile society to have rather let him get away with it. The fact that he is now out on ‘parole’ sends a very clear message to other ‘comrades’.

  • The perfect time for Gary Porrit to request the same having spent four years in prison already on the same charge of “Contempt of Court”. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander otherwise the SA judicial system could be charge with racism! What the hell…why not let all those guilty of fraud out to enjoy the fruits of their labour whilst you’re at it… How disappointing to see our country just become another “ shithole African country” ( to coin Trumps phrase!)

    • Jane, to coin a phrase means to create or establish a phrase. What you mean is “to use a phrase” or to in this case “to reuse Trumps phrase”. English as she is spoke!!!

  • It would seem that the old heel is interminably ill and mentally incapacitated enough to have conned someone into believing his shopworn shtick. My bet is that even if you could get him to court, it would impossible to get a straight answer out of this monster. As enjoyable as it would be watching him try to confusticate every question asked of him, I fear that the patheticness of this spectacle may work in the old turd’s favour. Besides, if I have to listen to one more idiotic utterance from Chief Obfuscator Dali Mpofu, I may just scream.

    • We should all know by now that shamtitus and a lack of courage cannot be treated in a hospital by qualified medical staff but requires home rest at taxpayer expense without being bothered about court cases.

  • I can’t help seeing this parole as another indicator of how badly Ramaphosas government is hollowed out. The problem really is if Ramaphosas center does not hold, what is the alternative? Civil war is a possibility. Civil society is not mature or strong enough yet to take up the burden of democracy in SA. Perhaps the best we can hope for is for Ramaphosa to temper the excesses of the ANC (and find an honest successor) while civil society grows up. Local government is the crucial arena where we must hope for our citizens to develop the skills and commitments of democracy. In that sense we really do need to see the state wither away and repeal strangling legislation.

  • All humans suffer from a terminal illness – life. We will all die sometime.
    The former prisoner however suffers from a severe case of allergy – to accountability and facing any form of justice in court!

  • Cadre deployment pays off yet again with Arthur Fraser moved from SSA to Correctional Services, by Pres Ramaphosa! See Chap 3 of The President’s Keepers by Jacques Pauw. (In 2017!!).
    Pity Zuma was not treated with the same callous indifference as Clive Derby- Lewis, who was painfully terminally ill.

  • If the fire pool turned out to be a swimming pool, the chicken run must be hiding the golf course. His mystery malady is obvious. He’s been shot through with corruption. Riddled. Enough to kill a state. But perhaps he can still sink a birdie putt. He’s been doing that with the justice system for years.

  • Lest we forget, in January 2020 a “medical certificate” for Zuma signed by a Dr Motene, apparently an SANDF doctor, led to a warrant of arrest by Judge Pillay. There was possible altering of dates and a brilliant diagnosis of “ medical condition.” In the 70s national service for graduates including doctors was introduced. We were lieutenants. To my recollection PF interns doing their training sponsored by the defence force were already captains. Then it went from major up to general not necessarily dependent on medical ability. As a bunch they were very “nationalist” and variably competent or frankly incompetent, rank-independent. For some, I think, it was gung-ho sheltered employment. These current day SANDF doctors, I would be inclined to bet, would be the same, just different ideology. An independent medical assessment would have been nice!