Former president Jacob Zuma.
Thulie Dlamini, Gallo Images/Sowetan
- President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday distanced himself from the decision to grant parole to Jacob Zuma.
- Ramaphosa said Arthur Fraser took the decision on his own.
- The government is not opposing AfriForum’s bid to have Zuma’s parole set aside.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday moved to distance himself from former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole.
Ramaphosa said he was only informed about it once the decision was made.
Speaking during the local election campaign trail in Soweto, Ramaphosa said prisons boss Arthur Fraser made the decision to release Zuma in his capacity as the national commissioner.
“He took the decision as he did after receiving the report, and I got to hear [about it] once the decision was taken. He took the decision as he is entitled to … as he is the commissioner.”
Last week, City Press reported that Ramaphosa gave the green light for Zuma to be released.
On Saturday, AfriForum revealed that the government was not opposing a two-part high court application to have Zuma’s medical parole set aside.
AfriForum’s Willie Spies said respondents in the court application – President Cyril Ramaphosa, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and the medical parole advisory board – indicated they would abide by the court’s decision.
“This is an interesting development because there has been speculation that [prisons commissioner] Arthur Fraser took the parole decision in consultation with Ramaphosa. The board, Ramaphosa and the minister will not be opposing the application. We received this news yesterday [Friday].”
Zuma was granted medical parole this month, just under two months after he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of court.
In a TV interview a few days later, Fraser revealed that he took the decision to release the 79-year-old Zuma on medical parole, even though the board had not approved the release.
The board concluded that Zuma was in a stable condition, Fraser said at the time.
AfriForum launched a two-part urgent court bid.
The first part of the application, to be heard on 28 September, seeks an order to force Fraser to disclose information relating to the medical parole decision.
The second part seeks to have the decision reviewed and set aside, and will be heard on 26 October.