Jailed Zuma Could Be Out In Just 4 Months

Former president Jacob Zuma is being held in the hospital section of the Estcourt Correctional Centre, where he is undergoing medical checks.

Speaking at a press briefing outside the facility on Thursday afternoon, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said Zuma was being treated humanely.

He said the Estcourt Correctional Centre was a modern rehabilitation facility built in 2019 that houses about 500 offenders.

The 79-year-old former president, who is now in orange overalls, will be in isolation for 14 days owing to the Covid-19 pandemic

Lamola said because the Constitutional Court order did not have “any parole stipulation” Zuma would be eligible for parole after serving a quarter of his sentence – just under four months. If he is granted parole, Zuma could be back home in time for Christmas.

Zuma will have access to television, but he won’t be allowed a cellphone. He can, however, use a public phone. The former president qualifies for four visits a month.

“I have seen him he is in very good spirits … he has taken his medication and has had breakfast,” said Lamola in response to a reporter’s question.

Zuma was jailed in the early hours after a near stand-off with supporters was avoided when the former president handed himself over to the police.

Last week the ConCourt convicted Zuma of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison.

The court had given Zuma until Sunday to hand himself to the police and he did not do so.

The court order said in the event the former president did not hand himself over as ordered the police had until Wednesday to arrest him.

Even with supporters declaring they were ready to lay down their lives to prevent Zuma’s arrest, sense prevailed in the end.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court was still to rule on Zuma’s request to stay the ConCourt arrest order.

Zuma has been afforded a hearing on Monday 12 July at the ConCourt.