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Compiled by Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

‘Mockery of the justice system’ – 5 reactions to Zuma’s prison release

Former president Jacob Zuma's release on 'special remission' has got tongues wagging.

Political parties, foundations, and citizens have reacted to the release of former president Jacob Zuma from prison on “special remission”, with some labeling it a “mockery of the criminal justice system”.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) on Friday announced its decision on whether to jail Zuma following the Constitutional Court (ConCourt)’s dismissal of an appeal relating to the former president‘s release on on medical parole in September 2021.

National Commissioner of Correctional Services Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale confirmed Zuma reported to the Estcourt Correctional Services facility on Friday morning and was released, shortly after being processed, for special remission. As a result of the remission, he will not be on the parole system.

‘A mockery of the criminal justice system’

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said criminals were being released to “save” Zuma.

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“ActionSA rejects with contempt Ramaphosa‘s ‘political solution’ to former president Zuma’s reincarceration, which has seen the release of 9 488 criminals back into society to save Zuma from serving further prison time.

“This move makes a mockery of the criminal justice system in South Africa by demonstrating once again Ramaphosa puts the ANC first and the country second,” said Mashaba.

‘Cynical manipulation of the powers of government’

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa over the decision, labelling it “a cynical manipulation of the justice system and powers of government”.

“This is yet another example of how this government, and particularly our president, who has again shown his spinelessness, is walking out on the principles we should be holding dear in any democracy: rule of law and equality before the law.”

‘We should not be baying for blood’

The GOOD party said the timing of the “special remission” programme could be questioned but it was not a time for turning on each other.

“The imprisonment of a former president who swore to uphold the laws of this land, for contempt of court, is a betrayal of the people of South Africa and it demands a sober response.

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“Zuma has served some time for this offence; our rule of law has been tested and remains resilient. Our former president is still facing serious criminal charges for which the remission programme should not apply if he’s convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.”

‘We are still here’

Zuma’s daughter Duduzile took to social media to post a picture of the former president at home, alongside the caption: “We are still here”.

Consulting lawyers

The Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, said Zuma was speaking with his lawyers.

“At this point, he is in consultation with his legal team,” Manyi said, without elaborating on what would be discussed.

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel.