Political Reaction

Sending Zuma back to jail serves no rehabilitation purpose: EFF

The DA is, however, adamant that the former president is not above the law and should go back to prison

Mawande AmaShabalala Political journalist
EFF and ANC KwaZulu-Natal believe former president Jacob Zuma should be left alone to play with his grandchildren despite an SCA judgement stating that his medical parole release was illegal. File photo.
EFF and ANC KwaZulu-Natal believe former president Jacob Zuma should be left alone to play with his grandchildren despite an SCA judgement stating that his medical parole release was illegal. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Esa Alexander

The EFF believes that sending former president Jacob Zuma back to jail will “serve no rehabilitation purpose”.

The red berets were reacting to a Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) ruling on Monday regarding the medical parole granted to Zuma, flagging it as irrational, unconstitutional and invalid.

The SCA ruling, among other things, could result in Zuma having to serve another 13 months in jail on his contempt of court conviction, of which he was granted medical parole by then prisons boss Arthur Fraser.

The DA and others took the matter to the Pretoria high court which ruled that Zuma must return to jail —  a decision the former president appealed at the SCA where he has since lost.

Zuma is expected to approach the highest court in the land to appeal once again; a move criminal law expert Ulrich Roux believes has “slim to none” chances of success.

EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said though the SCA judgment must be respected by all, his party does not see what purpose sending an 80-year-old Zuma back to jail will achieve.

This, he said, because the incarceration of an inmate was done with a purpose to rehabilitate them and make them positive contributors to society upon release, something the EFF struggles to see can be achieved with a pensioner like Zuma. 

“The judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeals must be respected, but what is the rehabilitation purpose of sending Zuma back to jail? None,” Tambo told TimesLIVE.

The EFF has a friend in ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial leadership which also said Zuma “must be allowed to enjoy his freedom as an elder like many more others”.

According to ANC KZN provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo, “the fact that President Jacob Zuma is not required by law to return to prison”, is good for the stability of the province and the country.

Aftering Zuma’s arrest last year, violent riots broke out in KZN and Gauteng leading to the death of more than 300 people and destruction of property amounting to billions of rand.

Mtolo said the release of Zuma on medical parole was sound and proper and in line with the principle stipulated in the Freedom Charter which states that “imprisonment shall be only for serious crimes against the people, and shall aim at re-education, not vengeance”.

Said Mtolo: “As the ANC in KZN we affirm our position that the release of [former] president Zuma months ago marked an important chapter not only in KwaZulu-Natal but in South Africa and the entire continent of Africa.

“We have stated in the past that for many people Zuma represents the triumph of the human spirit of perseverance by virtue that he rose from the depth of grinding rural poverty to attain the level of national and international prominence as a confident, yet self-taught person.”

The DA said Zuma must go back to the cells to serve the remainder of his sentence that he served outside owing to the now illegal medical parole.

According to the DA, the potential of another violent unrest is not enough to save the former president.

“Zuma must be made to serve his sentence like any ordinary South African. The commissioner [of prisons] should not be swayed by threats of a repeat of the July unrest in KZN last year, which were sparked by Zuma supporters protesting his arrest,” said DA leader John Steenhuisen.

“This SCA judgment is a victory for the DA on behalf of the people of South Africa. It is a victory for the rule of law, for the principle of equality before the law, and for accountability, all of which are essential prerequisites for a successful, prosperous society.”

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