Former President Jacob Zuma and the Correctional Services Department have vowed to seek leave to appeal the judgment of the High Court in Pretoria which nullifies the department’s former Commissioner Arthur Fraser’s decision to grant Zuma medical parole.
Zuma’s imprisonment for contempt of court after he refused to continue to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in July led to the vandalism and looting of businesses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
More than 300 people were killed in the unrest.
On Wednesday, the court also ruled Zuma’s release on medical parole was unlawful and ordered that he be sent back to jail to complete his 15-month jail term.
Correctional Services spokesperson Sengabakho Nxumalo says after having carefully studied the judgment, they are convinced that another court may arrive at a different conclusion.
“The DSC is of the view that the court sadly misinterpreted the Correctional Services Act and erred in declaring the decision of the National Commissioner to place Zuma on Medical Parole to be unlawful and setting it aside. He says they will outline the grounds of their appeal in the papers that they will be filing in court in due course.”
Singabakho Nxumalo speaks on the Correctional Services decision to appeal the court’s decision on Zuma’s parole:
Meanwhile, Zuma’s legal team has already filed its application for leave to appeal the judgment.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi says, “Indeed the legal team of his excellency, President Zuma, has just delivered its application for leave to appeal in terms of Section 17 of the Superior Courts Act on the grounds that the judgment is clearly wrong and there are strong prospects that a higher court will come to a totally different conclusion.”
Zuma’s decision to appeal court ruling on his medical parole decision: Dr Llewelyn Curlewis
Responses among South Africans
While some have hailed the judgment as a victory for the rule of law, others have questioned the purpose of the judgment.
In Durban, some residents believe sending Zuma back to jail isn’t the right decision.
“I don’t think it’s in the best interest of this country and all the provinces that Zuma if he has to go back to correctional services it’s not a good idea. It’s not wise for this country,” said one concerned person.
Another argued that Zuma was not being treated fairly. “It is painful to see what is happening. We have seen many leaders. In this country but no one has been through what Zuma is currently going through.”
Others fear it could plunge the country into chaos again. “I don’t think that should happen, that once happened and we saw what happened afterward. The looting that took place and criminality.”
But another resident says while Zuma’s age and poor health are matters of concern, nobody is above the law.
“It’s a bit of a shame and I also believe when you look at the age of the former President, we have to understand for medical conditions perhaps he should be confined to his home, his family. But for one and all regardless of race, socio-economic status, we need to let the law follow its course.”
In the related video below from September, Fraser stands by his decision to release Zuma on medical parole:
Additional reporting by Zoleka Qodashe