South African court orders Zuma back to jail

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that the decision to release ex-president Jacob Zuma on early medical parole was “unlawful” and he should return to prison to finish his sentence for contempt of court.

Zuma was sentenced last year to 15 months imprisonment after ignoring a court order to testify at a government inquiry into widespread corruption during his nine years as president, which ended in 2018 when Cyril Ramaphosa replaced him on an anti-graft ticket.

Zuma handed himself over to authorities in July last year and was released on medical parole two months later.
His arrest had sparked widespread looting and violence in which at least 337 people were killed.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the decision to grant Zuma medical parole against the advice of the specialist Medical Parole Advisory Board had been unlawful.

“On any conceivable basis, the commissioner’s decision was unlawful and unconstitutional. The high court was correct to set it aside,” the judgement said.

It also rejected a decision by the department of correctional services in October this year that Zuma’s prison sentence had finished while his appeal was being heard.

“In other words, Mr Zuma, in law, has not finished serving his sentence. He must return to the Estcourt Correctional centre to do so,” the Supreme Court of Appeal judgement read.

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