Jacob Zuma placed on medical parole

Jacob Zuma

Former South African president Jacob Zuma.

Photo credit: Emmanuel Croset | AFP

Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma has been released from jail on parole on medical grounds, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirmed on Sunday.

Mr Zuma was taken into custody early in July to begin his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court and has only served two months.

“The Department of Correctional Services is able to confirm that Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma has been placed on medical parole. Section 75(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, affords the National Commissioner a responsibility to place under correctional supervision or day parole, or grant parole or medical parole to a sentenced offender serving a sentence of incarceration for 24 months or less. The National Commissioner is also in terms of Section 52, empowered to prescribe conditions of parole,” DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.

He added that the medical parole’s eligibility for Mr Zuma was impelled by a medical report received by the Department. “Apart from being terminally ill and physically incapacitated, inmates suffering from an illness that severely limits their daily activity or self-care can also be considered for medical parole. The risk of re-offending of released inmates must also be low and there must be appropriate arrangements for the inmate’s supervision, care and treatment within the community to which the inmate is to be released to,” he said.

The former South African leader will now complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, where he must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires.

Mr Nxumalo explained that medical parole can only be revoked if an offender does not comply with the placement conditions. 

“We want to reiterate that placement on medical parole is an option available to all sentenced offenders provided they meet all the requirements. We appeal to all South Africans to afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment.”