Former South African President Jacob Zuma, incarcerated since July 8 for contempt of court, has been granted conditional release on medical grounds, South African prison authorities announced on Sunday. Zuma, 79, has been hospitalized – for undisclosed reasons – since August 6 outside the prison where he is serving a 15-month sentence for stubbornly refusing to appear before a commission of inquiry into state corruption under his presidency (2009-2018).
In June, former South African President Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison after refusing to appear before an anti-corruption commission. This Sunday, he was released on parole on medical grounds.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to supporters after appearing before the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 17. (Rogan Ward/REUTERS)
by LIBERATION and AFP
published on September 5, 2021 at 5:50 pm
Instead of fifteen months, he will have spent less than two. This Sunday, the former South African president, Jacob Zuma was released on parole for medical reasons. In June, he had been sentenced by the Constitutional Court to 15 months in prison for contempt of court. The former head of state had refused to appear before a judicial commission investigating corruption during his nine-year term, which ended in 2018.
South African prison authorities note that 79-year-old Jacob Zuma has been hospitalized outside of prison since August 6. He was also scheduled to undergo surgery on August 14. However, the reasons for his hospitalization have not been disclosed. « The Department of Corrections (DCS) is able to confirm that Mr. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma has been placed on medical parole, » they said in a statement.
With the parole taking effect this Sunday, Jacob Zuma will serve the remainder of his 15-month sentence outside prison. « He will have to comply with a set of specific conditions and will be subject to supervision until the end of his sentence, » the authorities continued, saying the decision was made « following a medical report » received by the ministry.
« But what a joke »
The judicial drama of Jacob Zuma had held South Africa in suspense for nearly ten days. At the time of his conviction, on social networks, reactions oscillated mostly between relief and joy, even if some messages of sympathy for the former president could be counted. When the announcement of his conditional release was made, many Internet users were indignant: « This is judicial madness, » said one Twitter user, « Zuma on parole for medical reasons… What a joke, » said another.
Last month, the former president’s lengthy trial over a 20-year-old arms deal was postponed until September 9, pending a medical report on his fitness to stand trial.