AfriForum’s legal team has urgently served National Commissioner of Correctional Services Arthur Fraser with a letter requesting answers regarding the release of former President Jacob Zuma on medical parole.
“In view of the urgency of the matter and the potential violation of justice, Fraser is requested in terms of the attorney’s letter to respond by September 10th,” said AfriForum in a statement on Tuesday evening.
The civil organisation is requesting information on whether Zuma is really suffering from a terminal illness that justifies his medical parole.
If not, details of the nature of his injury, illness or ailment that medical parole should be fairly must be disclosed, it said.
“The letter requests that Fraser provide information to AfriForum that will provide certainty as to whether the release of Jacob Zuma complies with the relevant legislation.”
It has requested the following information:
- Given Zuma’s well-publicised refusal to be examined by doctors appointed by the National Prosecuting Authority, despite clear instructions from the KwaZulu-Natal Supreme Court, full feedback is requested on Fraser’s conclusion that there is no risk of Zuma violating again.
- A copy of the application for medical parole, in the prescribed format, considered by Fraser.
- A copy of the medical report recommending that Zuma be placed on medical parole.
Ernst Roets, Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, said the lack of transparency in a high-profile case such as this was “outrageous”.
“One would think that the Department of Correctional Services would make sure that there would be no ambiguity among the public as to why this decision was made. Yet it seems at first glance that this decision was made without complying with the requirements of the law,” he said.
Roets said that Fraser’s response to AfriForum’s lawyer’s letter would determine whether further legal action was needed, but that AfriForum’s legal team “was ready to take the matter further if necessary”.
In a statement released on Sunday, the the department of correctional services (DCS) confirmed that Zuma had been placed on medical parole and said: “Section 75(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, affords the National Commissioner a responsibility to place under correctional supervision or day parole, or grant parole or medical parole to a sentenced offender serving a sentence of incarceration for 24 months or less.”
“Medical parole’s eligibility for Mr Zuma is impelled by a medical report received by the Department of Correctional Services. Medical parole placement for Mr Zuma means that he will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he must comply with specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires.”
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde