Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
10 Sep 2021
3:27 pm

DA takes first step in getting Zuma sent back to prison

Siyanda Ndlovu

Steenhuisen said Fraser’s parole decision 'harms the court in exactly the same way that Zuma’s contempt of court did'.

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP/SIMON MAINA

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has filed court papers to have erstwhile president Jacob Zuma sent back to prison.

Steenhuisen announced on Friday that he had applied to the Gauteng High Court to review and set aside National Commissioner of Correctional Services Arthur Fraser’s decision to grant Zuma medical parole.

“I believe the decision is unlawful for at least two reasons,” said Steenhuisen.

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“First, it was taken against the recommendation of the Medical Parole Advisory Board not to grant medical parole to Mr Zuma.

“Second, it was taken for an ulterior purpose not permitted by section 79 of the Correctional Services Act and Regulations [which govern the granting of medical parole], and not rationally connected to the purpose of medical parole or the information before the commissioner.”

On Wednesday, Fraser conceded that that he used his position as institutional head to overrule the medical parole board’s recommendation to keep Zuma in prison.

Speaking to Vuyo Mvoko on SABC’s The Watchdog, Fraser said he gave his reasons in writing, and the documentation could be available to anyone, including Parliament.

Steenhuisen said Fraser’s parole decision “harms the court in exactly the same way that Zuma’s contempt of court did”.

“It again makes a mockery of the judicial process, sending the message to every South African that, as long as you are powerful and politically connected, you need not fear punishment for breaking the law.

READ MORE: ‘I took the decision’: Arthur Fraser on why he released Zuma against board’s advice

“If you are sent to prison for your crimes, you will be let out well before the end of your sentence on medical parole.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa was not sparred, either, for welcoming Zuma’s release. Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa was continuing to serve interests of the ANC, ahead of those of the country.

“It is a terrible indictment on president Ramaphosa that he not only failed to speak out against this egregious decision, but that he openly welcomed it.

He said this was Ramaphosa’s desperate attempt to “placate the Zuma faction of the ANC ahead of the election”.

“Ramaphosa continues to put the interests of the ANC ahead of the interests of South Africa, even if it risks destroying the rule of law, the very foundation of our democracy.”

He said these were all results of cadre deployment, which the DA has criticised for years.

“Ramaphosa transferred Arthur Fraser from his position as director-general of the State Security Agency to the post of national commissioner of correctional services in 2018, knowing full well the many crimes Fraser stood accused of, including the parallel intelligence network he set up to serve Zuma’s personal interests,” said Steenhuisen.

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