Zuma medical parole: Law guides how DCS treats inmates, says dept

Former President Jacob Zuma, who spent less than 60 days being incarcerated at the Escourt Correctional Facility, will now complete the rest of his 15-month contempt of court sentence in the comfort of his home, with conditions.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock during the recess of his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 26 May 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Correctional Services said that the law guided the manner in which it treated inmates and responded to their needs.

This comes after the decision to free former President Jacob Zuma on medical parole.

Zuma, who spent less than 60 days being incarcerated at the Escourt Correctional Facility, will now complete the rest of his 15-month contempt of court sentence in the comfort of his home, with conditions.

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The Jacob Zuma Foundation said that the decision was an act of humility by the justice system, while many have hit back saying that the former statesman had received preferential treatment and the move had made a mockery of the parole system.

National spokesperson at Department Of Correctional Services Singabakho Nxumalo: "The moment you get incarcerated you become a vulnerable person, therefore the state has to respond to whatever needs you may have. When someone takes strain whereby that person now requires medical attention, the state now has to provide that, so the same happened here with Mr Jacob Zuma."

Nxumalo said that Zuma was not the first, nor would he be the last person to receive medical care from the department.

"Even if they're in our care, they ought to be treated the same irrespective of their public profiles. Whether they come with an elevated public profile, it doesn't really matter to us."

Nxumalo said that a series of assessments was done by several experts before an inmate was granted medical parole.

"We've got what you call a care unit, it's the chief directorate, which must then stick together all those records and it gets to the desk of the accounting officer to say here's the profile of this particular individual and contained inside are medical records and what you have here is a medical parole application that you ought to then consider."

He said that the experts were also required to provide recommendations based on the assessment conducted before the accounting officer made a decision.

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