Why Jacob Zuma was released: experts on how medical parole works

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Former president Jacob Zuma was granted medical parole less than two months after handing himself over to start his 15-month prison sentence. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/ Getty Images)
Former president Jacob Zuma was granted medical parole less than two months after handing himself over to start his 15-month prison sentence. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/ Getty Images)

To many South Africans it sounded like a get-out-of-jail-free card – a licence to continue his life in the bosom of his family, ensconced in his sprawling compound in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Like his one-time ally Schabir Shaik, former president Jacob Zuma was granted medical parole – and this barely two months after he’d been escorted to Estcourt prison.

Outrage was expressed in many quarters, with people speculating that he, like Shaik, had received preferential treatment. Zuma looked in good enough health before going to prison for contempt of court, laughing, chatting and having tea with visitors, many said. 

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