Former South African President Jacob Zuma reappeared at the Estcourt correctional facility on Friday, August 11. Surprisingly, he was quickly released under a remission process. The process, authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa, aimed at reducing prison overcrowding by putting inmates from jail under correctional supervision at home. It plans to release over 9,400 inmates from jails. This process was made public for the first time Friday, and Zuma appeared to be the first to benefit from it. Notably Zuma was taken back to prison on Friday after his parole was ruled invalid, only to be released again within two hours.
This surprising development comes after the constitutional court’s rejection of an attempt to challenge a lower court’s ruling. The lower court had deemed Zuma’s medical parole release as unlawful, leading to the decision that he should return to complete his 15-month sentence.
In 2021, Zuma’s initial arrest led to violent protests across South Africa; over 300 people were killed. Various trucks were set on fire during these violent protests. The former president, aged 81, had surrendered to authorities but was released on medical parole two months later due to ill health. He denies corruption allegations. He had been sentenced to 15 months in prison for not participating in a corruption inquiry.
Previously, Zuma also likened his treatment to apartheid-era detention without trial. He said, “The fact that I was lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial is something which should induce a sense of shock to all those who cherish freedom and the rule of law.” He also claimed at that time that jail time would be a death sentence.
(With inputs from Reuters)