JOHANNESBURG: South Africa‘s former president Jacob Zuma, who is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, has been granted medical parole because of his ill health, jail authorities said on Sunday.
Zuma, 79, was sentenced in June after losing his appeal in the country’s apex court for his consistent refusal to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, where a number of witnesses have implicated him.
“Medical parole placement for Mr Zuma means that he will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires,” the Department of Correctional Services said in a statement on Sunday.
“We want to reiterate that placement on medical parole is an option available to all sentenced offenders, provided they meet all the requirements. We appeal to all South Africans to afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment,” the statement added.
Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said he could not disclose Zuma’s exact condition, but quoted the relevant legislation which allowed for this type of parole.
“It has to be someone who is terminally ill or is physically incapacitated, so it’s an inmate whose daily activity is now limited and someone who is unable to afford what we call selfcare. Therefore, that person has to be considered for (parole) placement on medical grounds,” Nxumalo told Newzroom Afrika (sic).
Nxumalo said the Department had received independent medical reports from both its own doctors and the military doctors from the South African Defence Force recommending the parole.
Last week, Zuma had refused a request from the National Prosecuting Authority that its doctors be allowed to examine him independently as details of his illnesses could not be divulged.