On Wednesday morning, the High Court in Pretoria ordered that former president Jacob Zuma must return to jail. This order came after the court ruled that former National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser’s call to release Zuma on medical parole, was unlawful.
Judge overrules Fraser and rejects Zuma’s medical parole application
Judge Elias Matojane added that Fraser was “not entitled to order his release“.
“The decision of the first respondent (Fraser at the time) to place the third respondent (Zuma) on medical parole, taken on September 5, is reviewed, declared unlawful, and set aside;” the order read.
Judge Matojane thus decided that the former president’s current medical parole decision will instead be replaced with a rejected medical parole application.
“It is hereby directed that the third respondent (Zuma) be returned to the custody of the Department of Correctional Services to serve out the remainder of his sentence of imprisonment.”
Zuma’s time spent on “medical parole” does not count towards his full sentence
The High Court has also ordered that time Zuma was released on medical parole should not be counted towards his full sentence. Zuma was originally sentenced to 15 months in jail by the Constitutional Court.
Judge Matojane added that, thanks to the commissioner’s “unlawful intervention”, Zuma has been enjoying being at home in Nkandla for nearly three months of this sentence. Thus not serving his sentence in “any meaningful sense“.
“The commissioner (Fraser) has unlawfully mitigated the punishment imposed by the Constitutional Court, thereby rendering the Constitutional order ineffective, which undermines the respect for the courts, for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself.”
Judge adds one last surprise
Judge Matojane explained that in terms of the Correctional Services Act, the Medical Parole Advisory Board is the “statutory body” to decided whether medical parole should be granted or not.
And to further add to the situation, the judge also surprised both Zuma and Fraser with the legal costs of this application.