South African Former President, Jacob Zuma Released After 15 Months Prison Term Ends
On Friday, the Department of Correctional Services announced that former President Jacob Zuma had completed his 15-month sentence.
These completed administrative processes related to Zuma’s sentencing were added by the department.
Zuma expressed mixed feelings but expressed gratitude for the freedom to “do whatever I want without restrictions.”
Former President Jacob Zuma’s 15-month sentence expired on Friday, according to the Department of Correctional Services.
The former president was sentenced on June 29, 2017, and began serving his sentence on July 8, 2017.
After he refused to appear and testify before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, the Constitutional Court ordered his arrest.
Zuma only served two months of his sentence.
He was released in September after former correctional services head Arthur Fraser controversially granted him medical parole.
In December, the Gauteng High Court judge Keoagile Elias Matojane ruled against Fraser’s decision and ordered Zuma to return to prison.
Zuma challenged the ruling, which is now with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
News24 reported this week Matojane would not comment on his ruling after Judicial Service Commission commissioner Julius Malema asked if he thought incarcerating elderly people benefitted society.
Matojane was a candidate for the judge position in the SCA. He did not make the cut.
“That matter is pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal. I am out of it. Whether I am right or wrong, a higher court is going to relook at the evidence, and then they will decide. If I am wrong, they will say so. It is not really for me to answer that question, Mr Malema with due respect,” he said.
Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the expiration of Zuma’s sentence also meant the end of administration processes.
“Medical parole placement meant that Mr Zuma was to serve the remainder of his sentence under Kranskop Community Corrections. Essentially, Mr Zuma complied with his conditions for medical parole as set out during his placement,” added Nxumalo.
Zuma said he had mixed emotions about the end of his sentence.
He felt the same sense of freedom after his release from Robben Island in 1973 but, this time around, was sad the apex court ordered his arrest without trial, he added in a statement.
Zuma said he was grateful he could now “do whatever I want without restrictions”.
“I am relieved to be free again to walk around and do whatever I want to do without restrictions and having to seek permission, in the same manner that I felt in 1973 when I was released from Robben Island.
“Only this time, I am also filled with sadness. It was the first time ever that the Constitutional Court sentenced any person to a term of imprisonment and without even the benefit of a trial. I never expected this to happen during the freedom and democracy we fought so hard to attain,” he added.