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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


‘We’re still here’: Zuma’s next step after ‘special remission’ jail release

The former president reported to the Estcourt Correctional Services facility on Friday morning following a decision on his incarceration and was released shortly afterwards.


Former President Jacob Zuma has returned to Nkandla and is currently consulting with his legal team following the remission of his sentence.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, and National Commissioner of Correctional Services Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale briefed the media on the outcomes of the decision in Pretoria early on Friday morning.

Drive through

Zuma reported to the Estcourt Correctional Services facility on Friday morning following a decision on his incarceration.

Thobakgale said Zuma arrived at the prison at 6am where he was processed and left after 7am.

As a result of the remission, he will not be on the parole system.

Nkandla

The Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, said they will issue a statement soon.

“President Zuma is at home. At this point, he is in consultation with his legal team. We hope to issue a statement later, not now.”

Lamola earlier announced the former president had benefitted from a special remission of prison sentences for non-violent offenders, approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘Ramaphosa believes the rule of law has been served’ in Zuma jail decision- Lamola

Zuma’s daughter Dudzile took to social media shortly after the announcement to post a video of the former president at home, alongside the caption: “We are still here”.

Remission

Lamola said the remission process was to avoid overcrowding of prisons and would factor in the category of crimes committed and time already served in facilities.

He said Ramaphosa had remitted prisoners across the country and had not given special treatment to Zuma.

“It is not a specific decision about former president Jacob Zuma, it is about all the offenders across the country. [A total of] 9 488 inmates will be released into correctional supervision. Zuma will benefit from this.”

This “special remissions” process was started on Friday, the same day as the announcement Zuma would benefit from it. He would also fall under the first “category” of those released.

Reactions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said party leader John Steenhuisen will respond to what it called “Ramaphosa’s unacceptable move” to release Zuma from prison.

“It took thorough legal action by the DA to uphold the rule of law, and return Zuma to prison, which Ramaphosa has now subverted,” the party said.

In an address to supporters, Steenhuisen labelled the decision “a cynical manipulation of the justice system and powers of government”.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba also slammed Zuma’s release.

“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.

Jailed

Zuma, who was jailed for 15 months in July 2021 for defying a Constitutional Court order to appear at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture, was released on medical parole in September 2021 by former correctional services boss Arthur Fraser.

However, the former president served just two months of the sentence.

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