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In this frame grab, former South Africa President Jacob Zuma appears on a screen virtually from the correctional service facility Estcourt, in Pietermaritzburg
South African ex-president Jacob Zuma could face the rest of his current jail term in medical careImage: South Africa Judiciary/AP/picture alliance
PoliticsSouth Africa

Zuma released from prison on medical parole

September 6, 2021

The former South African president underwent surgery in early August and could even be allowed to be treated at home, prison authorities said. The decision was welcomed by supporters but slammed by critics.


Former South African president Jacob Zuma was put on medical parole just two months into a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court during a corruption probe, prison authorities said Sunday.

Zuma, 79, who had surgery in hospital for an unspecified problem in August, was given medical parole following a report by the South African Department of Correctional Services, it said in a statement.

What have authorities said?

"Medical parole placement for Mr Zuma means that he will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections," said the Department of Correctional Services.

"He must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires," the department added.

Spokesman for the department, Singabakho Nxumalo, said Zuma was now in hospital but could continue to receive medical care at home.

He did not say anything about what Zuma was suffering from and if his health had worsened since surgery on August 6.

How has South Africa reacted?

The decision to release the former president was welcomed by Mzwanele Manyi of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, saying that a more detailed statement would be made in the future.

Manyi told the AFP news agency that the "unconstitutional" imprisonment had "an exponential impact in terms of deteriorating his condition."

On Sunday, veterans of the ANC's armed wing, protested for Zuma to be released at a funeral of another of the group's leaders.

The opposition Democratic Alliance party, however, slammed the medical parole as "entirely unlawful" and said it "makes a mockery" of prison regulations.

Court case on 16 counts

Zuma still faces a court case on September 9, pending a medical report on his health, to answer for 16 counts of fraud, graft and racketeering during a 1999 arms deal.

South African president from 2009 to 2018, Zuma started serving his sentence at Estcourt Prison on July 8.

His arrest in July led to massive unrest in several South African regions.

jc/jsi (Reuters, AFP)


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