Zuma granted leave to appeal ruling ordering him back to jail

Earlier, Senior Counsel Maribolla Mphahlele, representing the Correctional Services Department, argued against Zuma being sent back to jail, saying that the former president did not place himself on medical parole.

FILE: Former South African president Jacob Zuma who is facing fraud and corruption charges greets supporters in the gallery of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 17 May 2021. Picture: Rogan Ward/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria has granted former President Jacob Zuma leave to appeal a judgment that sent him back to prison to serve out the rest of his 15-month contempt of court sentence.

Judge Elias Motojane ruled that there was sufficient merit to show that the matter required the attention of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

He said that this would also bring some certainty to the issues raised.

Zuma and the Correctional Services Department are fighting for the former leader to finish off his sentence at home, where he is on medical parole.

He was jailed by the Constitutional Court for failing to adhere to an order for him to return and testify at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Judge Motojane listed multiple reasons why another court may come to a different conclusion from his own on Zuma’s medical parole.

He said that there was a reasonable possibility that another court may view his findings that time spent on medical parole shouldn’t count towards fulfilling his sentence as unfair on Zuma.

"It was not his decision but that of the commissioner to release him on medical parole. Second, his meeting with political allies and a prayer meeting was a once-of thing," Motojane said.

He also said that another court may take Zuma’s age and ailing health into consideration.

"Because of his illness and advanced age, he needs compassion, he needs empathy, he needs humaneness, which is the essence of ubuntu. In my view, another court may take this into consideration," he said.

Motojane has described Zuma’s battle to stay out of jail as an important question of public law.