Jacob Zuma and the Department of Correctional Services have been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) against the ruling handed down by the Pretoria High Court last week which ordered the former president back to prison.
Their application for leave was heard by Judge Elias Matojane – who also delivered the ruling last week – on Tuesday and decided on the same day.
In granting leave, Matojane said the case raised an important question of public law.
“In my view this matter merits the SCA’s attention to bring certainty on the correctness of the interpretation and application of [the Correctional Service Act’s provisions],” he said.
“I’m also of the view there’s a reasonable possibility that another court may find [differently to] the order that [Zuma’s] time spent on medical parole should not count toward fulfilling his sentence, as this impacts on him unfairly in that it was not his decision but that of the commissioner to be released on medical parole.
“His meetings with political allies and his prayer meeting [after his release] was a once off thing and his freedom of movement is restricted, this has an impact on his dignity and he is serving his sentence albeit outside prison; and because of his illness and advanced age he needs compassion, empathy and humaneness.”
Zuma was granted medical parole in September – after serving just two months of the 15-month prison sentence he got slapped with for contempt of the Constitutional Court in late June.
But Matojane last week declared Zuma’s early release unlawful and ordered his return to prison – ruling, in addition, that the time he had recently spent on the outside not be considered time served.
This on the back of legal challenges from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and AfriForum.