The Supreme Court of Appeal is expected to rule on whether the High Court Judge Elias Matojane was right to order former President Jacob Zuma back to jail after he was scrumptiously released on medical parole last year.
The 15-month jail sentence
The country’s apex court sentenced Zuma to 15 months prison in June last year after he ignored instructions to appear before the judicial commission of inquiry investigating state capture.
Zuma was head of state at the time that several government owned enterprises were systematically broken down and fleeced.
The former statesman handed himself over to the Escourt Correctional Services facility in his home province in KwaZulu-Natal on 7 July to begin his prison sentence, but that act triggered the worst violence South Africa had seen in years, at the hands of his ardent supporters.
The ‘protests’ quickly escalated into a violent looting orgy in which more than 300 people were killed and thousands of businesses were pillaged and destroyed.
Zuma spent less than two months behind bars before former spy boss and then-outgoing correctional services head Arthur Fraser released him on medical parole.
That decision was then challenged in the Gauteng High Court, with Judge Matojane ruling that Zuma had to go back to prison.
And, predictably, as with all legal cases involving the 80-year-old, Matojane’s judgment was challenged in the Supreme Court of Appeal– that decision is expected to be handed down on Monday, 21 November 2022.
SCA to decide if Matojane was correct to send Zuma back to prison
In anticipation of Monday’s judgment, the Jacob Zuma Foundation said it was “expecting justice carried out.”
“We hoping the SCA will make it clear to Judge Matojane that it is very wrong for him to think that a person who is on parole, that that person is on some kind of holiday,” said foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi.
“For Matojane to even hint that the period that president Jacob Zuma spent outside must be discounted and he must serve that time in jail, it exposes Matojane for lack of understanding of what medical parole is.”
“That he doesn’t understand that when on parole, you are still a prisoner, you are still under the supervision of the correctional services, so why would Matojane think you are on holiday?”
Manyi went onto to say Monday’s judgment should not really have anything to do with Zuma, because the 15-year prison sentence had come to an end anyway.
Manyi also reiterated that Zuma did not even apply for any parole and the decision to release him came “from government itself.”
“Correctional services initiated the process and they saw it through where he eventually got onto medical parole, without him applying for it.
“So whether that decision was wrong or right that can’t be President Zuma’s problem anyhow, why should that be President Jacob Zuma’s problem,” said Manyi.
The foundation said that Matojane should actually face the Judicial Services Commission for saying that the time Zuma spent out of jail on medical parole should not be counted for the fulfilment of his 15-month sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court.
“This is the most unacceptable conduct of a judge, almost as if he was hired gun,” Manyi concluded.