Zuma Wins Right To Appeal Ruling Revoking Medical Parole

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The Gauteng Division of the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday granted former president Jacob Zuma leave to appeal its earlier ruling that the 79-year-old’s medical parole was unlawful.

Last week on Wednesday Judge Keoagile Elias Matojane revoked Zuma’s medical parole and ordered that he returns to prison to serve out his 15-month sentence for contempt of court.

However, after hearing arguments on Tuesday from Advocate Dali Mpofu for Zuma, and others, the judge was persuaded that perhaps another court could arrive at a different conclusion on the legality of the former president’s medical parole.

In agreeing to grant leave to appeal Judge Matojane noted Zuma’s illness and advanced age, saying “he needs compassion … he needs empathy and humanness which is the essence of ubuntu”.

Judge Matojane added: “In my view, another court may take this into consideration and come to a different finding”.

He also said the different interpretations of laws governing parole and medical parole needed to be examined by a higher court to give direction.

Judge Matojane said because of these reasons “leave to appeal is granted to the Supreme Court of Appeal and that costs will be cost in the appeal”.

The judge also conceded that there was a possibility that another court could rule differently on the matter of whether the period Zuma spent under medical parole should be considered as part of the 15-month sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court sent Zuma to jail in July for defying its order to return to the Zondo Commission – the judicial inquiry into allegations he aided systematic corruption during his presidency. 

After his initial appearance, Zuma alleged that the chair of the commission Judge Raymond Zondo was biased against him and he refused to return to answer to allegations levelled against him.

On Tuesday, Advocate Mpofu dispelled suggestions that Zuma was not ill enough to be put on medical parole. 

He said a doctor who examined Zuma found that the former president had a condition that was progressively terminal.

Besides, said Advocate Mpofu, Zuma did not grant himself medical parole and should not be punished for something he had no say in.

The Department of Correctional Services, which was also requesting leave to appeal the revoking of Zuma’s medical parole insisted the former president met all the conditions required.

Before he was let out of prison, Zuma underwent a surgical procedure that saw him remain in the hospital for days after he had been granted medical parole.

The initial court action was sparked by comments made by the then national commissioner of correctional services, Arthur Fraser, on SABC television admitting that he ignored the Medical Parole Advisory Board findings when he released Zuma on medical parole.

The Helen Suzman Foundation, the Democratic Alliance, and AfriForum successfully challenged the matter in the high court which found the medical parole was granted unlawfully.

The former president can now enjoy Christmas with family while awaiting the Supreme Court of Appeal to give him a date to appeal Judge Matojane’s ruling that he was unlawfully placed on medical parole.