Zuma’s parole: Correctional Services suffers defeat as ConCourt dismisses appeal
The former president was granted medical parole by Arthur Fraser in September 2021.
Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) delivered another big judgment on Thursday, this time dismissing the Department of Correctional Services’ appeal application relating to former president Jacob Zuma‘s release on parole.
The ConCourt dismissed the application with costs as it had no reasonable prospects of success.
The apex court also rejected Zuma’s application to intervene in the department’s appeal case and was ordered to pay costs.
Correctional Services national commissioner, Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale approached the ConCourt after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), in November last year, ruled that the former president had not finished his jail sentence.
The ConCourt, however, referred the matter back to the commissioner to make determination on the remaining period of Zuma’s incarceration.
The department has since said it was “studying” the ConCourt judgment.
“DCS [Department of Correctional Services] is seeking legal advice and will comment further in due course,” a statement reads.
The SCA had upheld the Pretoria High Court’s December 2021 ruling, which dismissed Zuma’s leave to appeal application and declared his parole release as unlawful.
Zuma was granted medical parole by former Correctional Services national commissioner, Arthur Fraser, in September 2021, but was later challenged by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and AfriForum.
The litigation followed Fraser’s admission 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.
The former president was handed a 15-month jail sentence by the ConCourt for contempt after he refused to testify at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
The former president launched the private prosecution in December last year, on the eve of the ANC’s national elective conference, accusing Ramaphosa of being “an accessory after the fact” in a matter involving Advocate Billy Downer, who is the lead prosecutor in Zuma’s arms deal-related corruption case.
Zuma had argued that Downer violated the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act by allegedly leaking his confidential medical information to journalist Karyn Maughan in August 2021.
Therefore, the president’s failure to investigate made him an accessory after the fact.
While Ramaphosa won his case, the Pietermaritzburg High Court last month also ruled in Maughan and Downer’s favour, setting aside Zuma’s private prosecution against them.