The ANC has rejected the release of former president Jacob Zuma on medical parole being likened to that of his former financial advisor, convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.
This follows the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS’s) announcement on Sunday, which confirmed that Zuma was granted parole after it received two medical reports regarding his health condition.
“I think there are different circumstances to different situations. So if every situation is going to have a particular narrative we are not going to allow ourselves to understand what the truth is and what isn’t.
“I agree with you… the Schabir Shaik behaviour may have been wrong, but we cannot assume that comrade Zuma is not ill and will behave like Schabir Shaik. I think that’s not quite right. All I’m saying is that the world is much bigger then one perspective. If there is a mistake then we will be wrong. If we see comrade Zuma going to play golf for instance then of course you are right and we are wrong,” she said.
Shaik was released on medical parole in 2009 after serving two years and four months of his 15-year prison term, after having been declared “terminally ill”.
However, Shaik’s medical parole was considered unlawful, resulting in an amendment of section 79 of the Correctional Services Act.
While the original intent of the provision for medical parole is to give prisoners with terminal illnesses a dignified death outside of prison, death has still not caught up to Shaik nine years after his release.
Since his release, Shaik has reacquainted himself with golf and allegedly assaulted a journalist in the process.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum are planning to legally challenge Zuma’s medical parole.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the party would argue on the grounds that the DCS did not follow the proper channels before making the decision.
AfriForum policy head Ernst Roets called the parole a “violation of justice” that could not be accepted.
“AfriForum views the announcement that former president Jacob Zuma was released on medical parole as a violation of justice. The civil rights organisation is currently in consultation with its legal team about the possibility to apply for an urgent review application,” the group said in a statement.