South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma set free after completing 15-month jail term

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 7 Oct, 2022 16:42 | < 1 min read
Jacob Zuma
South Africa's ex-President Jacob Zuma. PHOTO/Foto24

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has announced that former president Jacob Zuma is a free man.

In a statement on Friday, the department confirmed that Zuma’s prison sentence has expired.

Zuma was slapped with a 15-month jail sentence when he was found guilty of contempt by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in June 2021.

The former president had failed to comply with the ConCourt’s ruling forcing him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

After serving part of his prison sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Zuma was subsequently released on medical parole in September.

At the time, the former president had a surgical procedure recently having been initially hospitalised for medical observation for an undisclosed illness.

Legal battle

Zuma was granted parole by former Correctional Services national commissioner Arthur Fraser, who admitted that the Medical Parole Advisory Board had in fact not recommended the 80-year-old’s early release, but that he had overruled it.

Fraser had argued that he had considered “the events that occurred during the month of July 2021, and specifically around the period when Zuma was incarcerated” when granting the parole.

Zuma’s imprisonment sparked violent unrest and looting of shops in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which left more than 300 people dead.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA), Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and AfriForum successfully challenged Zuma’s release on parole at the Pretoria High Court, which ruled that Fraser’s decision was unlawful and irrational, and ordered the former president to return to jail.

Zuma has since appealed the court ruling, with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) reserving its judgment, which is yet to be delivered, in the matter.

The appeal application was heard in August 2022.

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