The department of correctional services (DCS) will be appealing the judgment handed down by the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria, on the medical parole placement of former president Jacob Zuma.
“Having carefully studied the judgment, DCS is convinced that another court may arrive at a different conclusion.
DCS is of the view that the court sadly misinterpreted the Correctional Services Act and erred in declaring the decision of the national commissioner to place Zuma of medical parole to be unlawful and setting it aside,” said DCS in a statement on Wednesday.
“We will outline the grounds of appeal in the papers that we will be filing in court in due court.”
Judge Elias Matojane ruled that former national commissioner of correctional services Arthur Fraser’s decision to place Zuma on medical parole in September was unlawful and ordered that the former president should return to jail to serve out the remainder of his 15-month sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).
“The decision of the first respondent (Mr Arthur Fraser at the time) to place the third respondent (Zuma) on medical parole, taken on 5 September 2021, is reviewed, declared unlawful and set aside.
“The medical parole decision is substituted with a decision rejecting the third respondent’s application for medical parole,” Judge Matojane said in his judgment.
The application to review Zuma’s medical parole was lodged by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and AfriForum after Fraser admitted during an interview with SABC News that he had overridden the Medical Parole Advisory Board’s decision not to release the former president from jail.
This was despite the board finding that the former president was not terminally ill or severely incapacitated to serve his sentence imposed by the ConCourt in late June, for refusing to obey court orders to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
Judge Matojane ordered that the nearly three months that Zuma has been out on medical parole does not count toward the fulfilment of his sentence, meaning the time he has spent at home cannot be considered as part of his 15-month jail sentence.
Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe