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Zuma yet to apply for release to attend late brother’s funeral

Former president would be permitted to apply for ‘compassionate leave’

Amanda Khoza Presidency reporter
Former president Jacob Zuma with his younger brother Michael in Nkandla in December 2007. Michael passed away on Sunday after a long illness.
Former president Jacob Zuma with his younger brother Michael in Nkandla in December 2007. Michael passed away on Sunday after a long illness.
Image: Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali

As would all other inmates, former president Jacob Zuma has the right to apply for permission to attend his late brother’s funeral, but hasn’t yet done so.

“Mr Zuma is yet to apply for compassionate leave,” department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said on Tuesday.

SowetanLIVE sister publication TimesLIVE asked the department whether Zuma, who is serving a 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal for contempt of court, would be granted permission to attend the funeral, and whether he had been informed that his younger brother, Michael, died on Sunday morning after a long illness.

Nxumalo responded: “Former president Jacob Zuma is doing well. Inmates are encouraged to keep contact with their families and public phones are available in our facilities should they opt to do so telephonically.”

Meanwhile, the Zuma family is yet to meet to discuss the funeral arrangements because some family members were stuck in Durban following violent looting in parts of the country.

Zuma’s 77-year-old brother Khanya said: “We will discuss the compensation leave application with the family when we meet to discuss the funeral arrangements. We haven’t been able to meet because some family members are in Durban and have not been able to come to Nkandla because the roads are blocked.”

There are three remaining elders in the Zuma clan, including the former statesman, Khanya and 79-year-old Joseph.

On Tuesday, most family members were tested for Covid-19.

“We are all OK for now,” Khanya said, adding that the family would inform the nation when the funeral will take place.

He said the family was coming to grips with life without the former president’s presence at the homestead.

On Tuesday the Jacob Zuma Foundation, in a tweet, dispelled rumours that a high-level delegation went to visit Zuma in jail.

On Monday, the foundation again dismissed reports that certain people had expressed a desire to have an audience with Zuma.

“The foundation has received spurious reports about some supposed delegation that claims to have visited [former] president Zuma at the prison in Estcourt today. All such reports must be dismissed as fake. [former] President Zuma is committed to the rescission application at the ConCourt,” read the tweet.


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