Former Correctional Services national commissioner Arthur Fraser has yet again defended his decision to release former president Jacob Zuma on medical parole.
The former Correctional boss, in his affidavit filed at the Pretoria High Court, dismissed claims that his “perceived relationship” to Zuma was the reason behind his decision.
“I also submit that [Zuma’s] political standing had nothing to do with his placement on medical parole,” he said.
In June, the Constitutional Court found Zuma in contempt of its previous order for him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture for questioning and sentenced him to 15 months behind bars.
Two months later, however, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) announced the former president had been granted medical parole.
In his papers, Fraser further defends his decision, saying that he had considered “the events that occurred during the month of July 2021 and specifically around the period when [Zuma] was incarcerated”.
The looting of shops and violent unrest in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng had took place in July.
The violence, which left more than 300 people dead, was ostensibly sparked by Zuma’s imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the former Correctional boss also denied overriding the Medical Parole Advisory Board, insisting that he “took the decision in line with the discretion and the authority conferred on me by the Correctional Services Act”.
Fraser was responding to a legal challenge to the lawfulness of Zuma’s release.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum legally challenged Zuma’s medical parole, filing their papers with the Pretoria High Court last month.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the party would argue on the grounds that the DCS did not follow the proper channels before making the decision.
AfriForum policy head Ernst Roets called the parole a “violation of justice” that could not be accepted.
The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) also entered the legal fray and argued that the lack of transparency “makes a mockery of the rule of the law” in another Constitutional Court bid to overturn it.
The HSF’s case – like the DA’s – has two parts.
In the first, it wants a record of the decision. In the second, it wants the decision reviewed and set aside and substituted with one denying Zuma parole.