Cope: Allowing Zuma to attend brother’s funeral is a security risk

Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Prison in KwaZulu-Natal for defying the orders of the state capture commission and the Constitutional Court.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - While former President Jacob Zuma waits to hear if he will be granted permission to attend his brother's funeral, the Congress of the People (Cope) has on Wednesday warned the Department of Correctional Services not to make an emotional decision in the matter.

Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Prison in KwaZulu-Natal for defying the orders of the state capture commission and the Constitutional Court.

His brother, Michael passed away last week, and the former president has now applied for compassionate leave so he can attend his funeral in Nkandla on Thursday.

However, Cope has warned that allowing Zuma to attend the funeral might pose a security risk.

"If media reports are true that former President Jacob Zuma has applied to the Correctional Service Department to attend his late brother Michael Zuma's funeral who passed on few days ago, we ask that the decision makers be cautious," the party said in a statement.

It also admits that this will be a difficult decision to make: "We are thinking of a situation where the supporters of Zuma refuse to let him go back to prison. Will the security forces be up to the task to get him back to prison without spilling blood?"

Cope has called on the department of take a "decision that will be in the best interest of the Zuma family and the country."

The department earlier said there were a number of factors to be considered in the matter in terms of the Correctional Services Act.

Spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said: “An application has been brought to our attention by the former president and it is now being considered in line with the Section 24 1(a) of the Correctional Service Act and once an outcome is out, we will inform the public.”

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