Witness Reporter
2 minute read
7 Sep 2021
06:48

Our viewpoint | Zuma’s medical parole

Witness Reporter

The decision by the national commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser, to release former president Jacob Zuma on medical parole is unsurprising.

OPINION:


The decision by the national commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser, to release former president Jacob Zuma on medical parole is unsurprising.

The writing was on the wall from the moment Zuma left the Estcourt Correctional Services Centre for “medical observation” last month. Leaders of opposition parties predicted that he would get medical parole like his friend Schabir Shaik who was released in 2009 after serving only two years of his 15-year jail sentence.

Leaders of opposition parties predicted that he would get medical parole like his friend Schabir Shaik who was released in 2009 after serving only two years of his 15-year jail sentence.

Much like Shaik, we will probably never know the nature of Zuma’s illness because his medical records are confidential. The timing of his medical parole raises concerns. It cannot be framed as anything but a political move, coming fast on the heels of paralysing protests in his name. It is common knowledge that Zuma’s popularity among ANC supporters is unmatched, especially in the party’s most influential province, KwaZulu-Natal.

His release could not even wait until the end of this month, when he would have been eligible for parole. With the local government elections less than two months away, the ANC could not risk going on the campaign trail while Zuma was still in jail. It would have been political suicide to go to the polls without him on the outside, considering the mounting threats to boycott the elections by some of the Free Zuma activists. Zuma had to be out of jail, by any means necessary. This included compromising the country’s justice system and making a mockery of the Constitution.

It would have been political suicide to go to the polls without him on the outside, considering the mounting threats to boycott the elections by some of the Free Zuma activists. Zuma had to be out of jail, by any means necessary.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s silence on the matter remains deafening. He’s barely said a word about the whole fiasco since Zuma’s arrest in July. Despite witnessing the destruction left in the wake of the civil unrest, Ramaphosa never publicly acknowledged the role of the Free Zuma activists in bringing KZN and Gauteng to their knees. Who is really running this country and the ANC as a whole?

The ANC-led government must not for a second think it can fool the electorate and get away with it. Their sentiments will be reflected in the election results, much like they were in 2016.

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