National commissioner of correctional services Arthur Fraser.
Photo: Sarel van der Walt
- The Department of Correctional Services recently announced that former president Jacob Zuma was placed on medical parole.
- Zuma was serving a 15-month sentence in the Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt of court.
- AfriForum has sent a lawyer’s letter to the national commissioner of correctional services requesting information about the medical parole decision.
Following former president Jacob Zuma’s placement on medical parole, AfriForum has sent a lawyer’s letter to the national commissioner of correctional services, Arthur Fraser, requesting information about the decision as well as a copy of the medical report recommending parole.
On Sunday, the Department of Correctional Services announced Zuma had been placed on medical parole following a report it had received.
Zuma was serving a 15-month sentence in the Estcourt Correctional Centre after being found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to give evidence at the Zondo Commission.
In August, Zuma was admitted to an outside hospital.
At the time, the department and his foundation said it was for a routine check-up.
According to a statement by the department, Zuma’s eligibility for medical parole was compelled by a medical report received by it.
“Apart from being terminally ill and physically incapacitated, inmates suffering from an illness that severely limits their daily activity or self-care can also be considered for medical parole,” the statement read.
The department – which did not specify whether Zuma was terminally ill, physically incapacitated or suffering an illness that severely limits his daily activity or self-care – said the former president would complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections.
It added the Correctional Services Act afforded the national commissioner the responsibility to place a sentenced offender under correctional supervision or day parole or grant parole or medical parole, if the offender was serving a sentence of incarceration of 24 months or less.
AfriForum sends lawyer’s letter
In the lawyer’s letter, seen by News24, AfriForum referred to different sections of the act pertaining to medical parole.
“With reference to the above, you are hereby required as a matter of urgency and given the unprecedented public interest in the imprisonment and release of the former president to provide our client with the following information,” the letter read.
AfriForum requested a copy of the medical report recommending placement on medical parole and a copy of the application for medical parole, which was considered by Fraser.
It also asked that Fraser should supply the following information:
- Whether Zuma suffers from a terminal disease that justified his medical parole.
- If Zuma was not diagnosed with a terminal disease, particulars are requested of the injury, disease or illness which severely limits daily activity or self-care, which justifies medical parole.
- How Fraser concluded that Zuma’s risk of reoffending was low, given that he allegedly refused to be examined by doctors appointed by the National Prosecuting Authority as directed by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.
“The request are [sic] made as a matter of urgency given the interests of justice that are at stake.”
The letter further stated if the requested information was not provided by 10 September, AfriForum would approach the High Court for appropriate relief.
News24 previously reported AfriForum viewed Zuma’s release on medical parole as a violation of justice.
Meanwhile, the DA also threatened to submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for the records of the parole board that granted Zuma parole.
Its leader, John Steenhuisen, said he wanted to establish what criteria the department used to determine Zuma’s eligibility for medical parole.
“I will also request that the Justice and Correctional Services Committee summon Arthur Fraser to explain to Parliament his decision to grant the medical parole in direct contravention of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act,” he added.
News24 has contacted the department for comment which will be added once received.