AfriForum Goes To Court Over Zuma Parole

AfriForum says it is compiling an urgent court application against the Department of Correctional Services and its national commissioner, Arthur Fraser, over the granting of medical parole to former president Jacob Zuma.

AfriForum on Monday said it wants to know if Zuma, who is serving a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court, is “terminally ill”.

It said Zuma was “released” on medical parole even though the “applicable statutory prescriptions do not appear to have been complied with”.

AfriForum said last week it sent an urgent lawyer’s letter to Fraser asking among other things, “whether Zuma was suffering from a terminal illness that justified his medical parole”.

Fraser did not reply, complained AfriForum, which has also sought details of Zuma’s condition.

AfriForum said the details of Zuma’s ailment “should be disclosed as well as copies of the application for medical parole and the medical report where the recommendation was made”.

Ernst Roets, head of policy and action at AfriForum, said it was a “matter of national importance”.

He said it was a shame “if people” are treated favourably on the basis of their political prestige.

“If it is true that the former president is terminally ill or in any other way complies with the provisions of the law, then there is no problem with his medical parole,” said Roets.

“However, everything the Department of Correctional Services has done and said in the past week indicates that there was political interference here that did not comply with the provisions of the law.

“The allegations that President Cyril Ramaphosa was involved in the decision to release Zuma sends a clear message that the president is not serious about tackling and stopping corruption and crime in the government as well as the ruling party.”

The AfriForum move comes a couple of days after the Democratic Alliance filed papers at the court requesting that the medical parole granted to Zuma be revoked.

Zuma’s lawyers, foundation, and family insist the 79-year-old former president – who is being treated by military doctors – must be allowed to enjoy his doctor patient confidentiality right regarding his condition.

Patient confidentiality is enshrined in law – the National Health Act 2003 makes it an offence to disclose patients’ information without their consent, except in certain circumstances such as notifiable diseases. 

After Zuma was granted medical parole he remained in hospital and there has been no indication that he has since been discharged.