Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Zuma appeals judgment overturning his release on medical parole

Zuma believes that a higher court will come to 'a totally different conclusion' on the matter, his foundation said.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s legal team has delivered his application for leave to appeal Wednesday’s judgment by the Pretoria High Court overturning his release on medical parole, his foundation confirmed.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation announced on Twitter that the former president wanted to appeal the high court’s judgment at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.

The foundation said Zuma was appealing the ruling “on the grounds that the judgment is clearly wrong and there are strong prospects that a higher court will come to a totally different conclusion”.

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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.

Correctional services notes judgment

Meanwhile, the Department of Correctional Services said in a terse statement it had noted the high court’s judgment on Zuma’s medical parole and was studying the ruling.

The department’s spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said they would make further pronouncements in due course.

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