Lobby group AfriForum announced that they have sent urgent lawyer’s letter to Arthur Fraser, the National Commissioner of Correctional Services, regarding former President Jacob Zuma’s medical parole.
EBNewsDaily reported earlier this week that Zuma was out of prison after being granted a parole due to his health reasons. The Department of Correctional Services said the decision to grant Zuma medical parole was informed by a medical report it had received.
“Section 75(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, affords the National Commissioner a responsibility to place under correctional supervision or day parole, or grant parole or medical parole to a sentenced offender serving a sentence of incarceration for 24 months or less. The National Commissioner is also in terms of Section 52, empowered to prescribe conditions of parole,” their statement read.
Zuma is serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court after ignoring a Constitutional Court to appear before the State Capture Commission.
He was admitted to hospital soon after his incarceration on 8 July.
AfriForum said due to the potential violation of justice, Fraser is requested in accordance with the lawyer’s letter to answer the questions by 10 September.
Afriforum said they need answers on the following:
- Whether Zuma suffers from a terminal disease that justifies his medical parole.
- If Zuma was not diagnosed with a terminal disease, particulars of the injury, disease or illness which justified medical parole must be divulged .
- Given Zuma’s well publicised refusal to be examined by medical doctors appointed by the National Prosecution Authority, despite clear provisions by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, full particulars are required as to how Fraser came to the conclusion that there is no risk that Zuma will transgress again.
- A copy of the application for medical parole, in the prescribed format, which was considered by Fraser.
- A copy of the medical report recommending that Zuma be placed on medical parole.
“One would think that the Department of Correctional Services would ensure that there is no uncertainty with the public as to why this decision was taken. Nevertheless it seems at first glance that this decision was taken without complying with the requirements of the law.” says Ernst Roets, Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum.
Roets said that Fraser’s response to the lawyer’s letter by AfriForum would determine whether further legal action is needed, but that AfriForum’s legal team is ready to take the matter further if necessary.
Meanwhile the Department of Correctional Services said 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 specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires.