Zuma medical parole: DA wants minutes of parole board meeting and records

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Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen. (Picture: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo Images)
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen. (Picture: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo Images)
  • The decision to grant former president Jacob Zuma medical parole has been received with mixed emotions.
  • The DA demands the records that culminated in Zuma's being granted parole.
  • AfriForum viewed Zuma's medical parole as a violation of justice, while Miles Bhudu wants all sick and qualifying prisoners to be granted the same medical parole.

The DA is challenging the medical parole granted to convicted former President Jacob Zuma.

DA leader John Steenhuisen has threatened to submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for the records of the parole board that granted Zuma parole.

Steenhuisen said he wants to establish what criteria the Department of Correctional Services used to determine Zuma's eligibility for medical parole.

"I will also request that the Justice and Correctional Services Committee summon Arthur Fraser to explain to Parliament his decision to grant the medical parole in direct contravention of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act," Steenhuisen said.

The opposition party has labelled the medical parole granted to Zuma as unlawful and a mockery of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act.

"A report on the health status of any prisoner must be subject to recommendation by an independent board to confirm, in truth, that a prisoner is indeed deserving of medical parole. 

"Given that Zuma publicly refused to be examined by an independent medical professional, let alone a medical advisory board, this decision is a violation of the Act and therefore unlawful," Steenhuisen said.

Zuma's foundation earlier welcomed the decision and said Zuma should serve the rest of his sentence outside prison. "He is still in hospital right now," said the foundation.

READ | Jacob Zuma placed on medical parole

Steenhuisen said a person eligible for medical parole must either be suffering from a terminal illness or be rendered physically incapacitated due to injury, disease or illness, the risk of re-offending must be low.

"… and there must be appropriate arrangements for care in the community to which he or she is to be released. Simply being of an advanced age does not qualify.

"It should also be noted that the medical parole was granted by Zuma's former spy boss, Arthur Fraser - a man deeply implicated in the corruption of the State Security Agency and accused of running an illegal parallel intelligence structure," said Steenhuisen.

Speaking to the SABC, IFP's Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the matter was personal and involved Zuma's health.

Hlengwa said:

The expectation is that authorities must and should have done their work within parameters of the law, and they have done so uncompromised or not decided on the basis of political pressure. Time will tell whether if it was the correct decision or not.

AfriForum views the announcement that former President Jacob Zuma is to be released on medical parole as a violation of justice.

The civil rights organisation is currently in consultation with its legal team about the possibility to apply for an urgent review application.

AfriForum's Ernst Roets said the medical parole is a blatant violation of justice that cannot merely be accepted.

Roets said they viewed the medical parole as a violation of justice. 

ALSO READ | Zuma faces another contempt charge if he does not allow NPA doctors to examine him - experts

AfriForum said it was consulting its legal team about the possibility of applying for an urgent review application.

South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR) leader Miles Bhudu welcomed Zuma's parole.

"Sapohr has no business and no capacity to doubt recommendations made by medical practitioners that led to Zuma being granted medical parole. It is factual that medical parole is an option available to all sentenced prisoners, provided they meet stringent requirements.

"Fraser should also afford other sentenced prisoners, including those who are in worse medical conditions parole too. We have lost count of many incarcerated prisoners [who were] left to die alone. Some died cold deaths behind high walls, neglected and ill-treated.

"We hope the department will learn and do the right thing by making rules and regulations that govern medical parole worth the paper it is written on," Bhudu said.

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