Zuma appeal will put medical parole under the spotlight

His team successfully argued to approach the SCA in the High Court on Tuesday, where Judge Elias Motojane ruled there was a possibility another court could come to a different conclusion.

Former President Jacob Zuma arrives at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on 17 November 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Jacob Zuma's approach to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) is now expected to clarify how medical parole is granted in the country.

His team successfully argued to approach the SCA in the High Court on Tuesday, where Judge Elias Motojane ruled there was a possibility another court could come to a different conclusion.

Motojane described this case as important for public law – in particular the understanding of the Correctional Services Act and its regulations.

Zuma is fighting to stay out of jail after the judge ruled that his medical parole was unlawful and that he should return to serve the rest of his sentence, including the time he had already spent on parole at his Nkandla home.

He was sentenced to 15 years in jail for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court after he refused to return and testify at the state capture commission of inquiry.

Issues regarding the advisory board, including whether its recommendations are binding or final, as well as its understanding of a report from a medical practitioner on Zuma's ill health, will be some of the issues that must be explored when his matter is heard by the SCA.

Even the terms that must be met in order to grant medical parole will come under some scrutiny as it has been raised by Correctional Services as one of the areas that Motojane got wrong in his judgment.

The judge said another court may want to show compassion to the former leader due to his advanced age and ill health.

He said it is possible for the order he gave for Zuma to serve the time he’s already served while on parole to be declared as unfair.

"It was not his decision, but that of the commissioner, to be released on medical parole. Second, his meeting with his political allies in a prayer meeting was a once-off thing. His freedom of movement is restricted."

Zuma's foundation has welcomed the news, confidently claiming the former leader will be victorious in the higher court.