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S/Africa: Zuma supporters ‘relieved’ following parole

Supporters of former president Zuma have welcomed the Ministry of Correctional Services' announcement to free him on medical parole after…

Supporters of former president Zuma have welcomed the Ministry of Correctional Services’ announcement to free him on medical parole after spending almost two months in prison.The ministry on Sunday announced that Zuma had been placed on medical parole due to ill health after staying in the hospital for a month.

 

His supporters said his freedom was “a huge relief,” saying there was no need for the incarceration of the former president in the first place.

The former president had been serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court after ignoring a Constitutional Court directive to appear before the State Capture Commission.

 

A few days after he was arrested, violent protests erupted in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng Provinces marred by looting and burning of businesses.

 

His supporters, like former spokesperson of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, Carl Niehaus, said Zuma should not have been arrested in the first place.

“His arrest was illegal. It was abused by the Constitutional Court and his release is conditional,” Niehaus said.

 

He added: “It should have been a total unconditional release, not a parole. But we are nonetheless grateful that president Zuma will be able to go back home to his family.” 

 

“And we hope that a lesson has been learned by the Constitutional Court to (not) allow itself to be abused for factional political purposes,” the spokesperson said. 

 

Zuma’s party, the African National Congress (ANC), has also welcomed the release of its former president.

 

Party spokesperson Pule Mabe said it was public knowledge that Zuma was not well, and therefore, qualified for parole. 

 

ANC KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said they had been engaging with the top leadership of the ministry persuading it to release the former president.

 

“And, hopefully, all people of KZN will welcome the decision for Zuma. (He) deserves (to) rest as he is old enough,” Ntombela said. 

 

The Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said the former president “is not well, and releasing him will help him to recover from home.”

 

“It just indicates humanness in the system. So, we are very happy that president Zuma will be able to recover at home,” Manyi said.  

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