Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Back to jail for Zuma? SCA dismisses medical parole appeal

The SCA has confirmed the decision to grant Zuma parole on medical grounds was unlawful and invalid.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has dismissed with costs former President Jacob Zuma’s appeal against the setting aside of his medical parole by the Pretoria High Court.

The Bloemfontein-based court has also ordered the former president to return to prison.

Medical parole appeal

Zuma and the Department of Correctional Services had appealed the high court’s ruling in December last year, which set aside the decision by former Correctional Services national commissioner, Arthur Fraser, to grant him medical parole.

The former president was handed a 15-month jail sentence by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) for contempt after he refused to testify at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

ALSO READ: Court rules Zuma’s medical parole was unlawful, orders his return to prison

After spending two months at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal, Fraser released Zuma on medical grounds, despite the Medical Parole Advisory Board’s recommendation not to release the former president from jail.

The application to review Zuma’s medical parole was lodged by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Helen Suzman Foundation and AfriForum.

Zuma should go back to jail

In its unanimous judgment on Monday, the SCA confirmed the decision to grant Zuma medical parole was unlawful and invalid, upholding the earlier high court decision.

The SCA ordered that Zuma should go back to jail to complete his 15-month sentence as the high court had ruled.

RELATED: Sending Zuma back to prison is a victory for equality before the law, says Steenhuisen

It will be for prison authorities to decide whether the time the former president spent on unlawful medical parole should count as part of his 15-month contempt sentence.

“In other words, Mr Zuma, in law, has not finished serving his sentence. He must return to the Estcourt Correctional Centre to do so.

“Whether time spent by Mr Zuma on unlawfully granted medical parole should be taken into account in determining the remaining period of his incarceration, is not a matter for this court to decide.

“It is a matter to be considered by the commissioner [of correctional services]. If he is empowered by law to do so, the commissioner might take that period into account in determining any application or grounds for release,” the SCA said in its ruling.

Zuma and Correctional Services national commissioner, Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale, were ordered to split the costs of the DA, the HSF and AfriForum.

NOW READ: Jacob Zuma Foundation: ‘Medical parole wasn’t holiday’

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