An appeals court ruled on Monday that the former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who has officially finished serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court, must return to prison because his conditional release on health grounds last year was against the law. The court’s decision came after Zuma had officially finished serving his sentence.
The former head of state, who was 80 years old at the time of his conviction, was found guilty in June 2021 of obstinately refusing to testify before a tribunal that was probing wrongdoing during his rule from 2009 to 2018. The following month, when he was arrested, an unprecedented wave of violence and looting broke out in an already stressful socioeconomic environment, resulting in the deaths of 350 people. After another two months, he was granted medical release and then placed under judicial monitoring pending his release.
An official judgment from the Supreme Court of Appeal, a copy of which was obtained by the AFP, states that the court “considers that Mr. Zuma’s conditional release on medical reasons was contrary to the law.” In defiance of the recommendation of the institution’s medical committee, the warden in charge of correctional services had authorized parole. After giving it a lot of thought, the doctors and nurses decided that Mr. Zuma “did not meet the required requirements.”
There is still a lot of mystery around Jacob Zuma’s current condition of health. According to various medical studies that were cited in the judgment that was handed down by the court of appeals, he suffers from blood pressure difficulties, high blood sugar levels, and extensive damage to his colon.
According to the appeals court’s ruling, the head of the prison service did not have the authority to go against the recommendation of the medical panel. As a result, “According to the law, Mr. Zuma has not yet completed serving his term.” He is required to return to the Escourt Correctional Center (in KwaZulu-Natal, southeast).
The decision comes after authorities at the prison stated a month ago that Zuma, who has made multiple public appearances, dancing and singing to his followers, would be completing his sentence. The decision comes as a result of that announcement.
Despite the controversies, he is still considered to be the most significant political opponent of the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa. Jacob Zuma has tried many times to shake up Cyril Ramaphosa by questioning the truth of his claims. The conference of the ruling ANC party, which is important for Mr. Ramaphosa’s future as head of the country, is coming up in less than a month.
On December 16, the African National Congress will have a meeting to decide whether or not to invest Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term in the 2024 election. He was elected on the promise that he would eradicate corruption, but his efforts have been impeded by a controversy involving unknown bundles of cash that were discovered during a break-in at one of his estates.