South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma briefly taken to prison then released on remission

Former South African President Jacob Zuma was briefly taken to prison and released to correctional supervision

Mogomotsi Magome
Friday 11 August 2023 08:02 BST
South Africa Zuma
South Africa Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma was briefly taken to prison and released to correctional supervision Friday, prison officials said.

Last month South Africa had deployed the army for security in four provinces amid concerns of unrest over a court decision making his 2021 medical parole invalid.

Zuma was admitted to the Estcourt Correctional Centre and released in less than two hours after his remission was processed.

Under the remissions process authorized by President Cyril Ramaphosa, almost 9,500 inmates will be released from prison and placed under correctional supervision, said Makhothi Thobakgale, correctional services commissioner.

The decision to return Zuma to prison followed a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment that upheld a Gauteng High Court ruling that releasing him from jail on medical parole in 2021 was unlawful and unconstitutional.

However, the court left to Thobakgale the decision of whether Zuma should return to jail or have his time under medical parole considered as time served.

Zuma was jailed in 2021 for defying a Constitutional Court order to appear before a commission of inquiry investigating allegations of corruption during his tenure as president from 2009 to 2018.

He was released on medical parole two months into his 15-month sentence.

Then correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser, a known ally of the former president, authorized Zuma’s release on medical parole.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation has argued that Zuma served his sentence as he was under correctional supervision while on medical parole.

The Department of Correctional Services said last year that Zuma had been released from its system after serving his sentence.

His incarceration had sparked violent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and property destruction in the province and in the Gauteng province, which includes the economic hub Johannesburg.

According to official government figures, 354 people died during the chaos as police struggled to quell the spread of the violence and destruction.

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