Former South African President, Jacob Zuma has been released from prison on medical parole due to his ill health, the government’s correctional services department has announced.
Zuma, 79, has been serving a 15-month prison sentence since July 2021 for contempt of court after refusing to appear at an inquiry into corruption during his time as president.
Last month, Zuma was admitted to an outside hospital where he underwent surgeries for an undisclosed ailment, according to prison authorities.
Back in July, deadly violence erupted in South Africa after Zuma handed himself in to custody, triggering widespread protests and looting as soldiers and police struggled to restore order.
Zuma is accused of corruption involving three businessmen brothers close to him Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta- and allowing them to influence government policy, including the hiring and firing of ministers to align with the family’s business interests.
“Medical parole placement for Mr Zuma means that he will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires,” South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said in a statement on Sunday, September 5.
The DCS said it was “impelled” to grant Zuma medical parole after receiving a medical report.
“Apart from being terminally ill and physically incapacitated, inmates suffering from an illness that severely limits their daily activity or self-care can also be considered for medical parole,” the statement said.
The DCS appealed to South Africans “to afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment.”
Zuma served as president from 2009 to 2018 and was once widely celebrated as a key figure in the country’s liberation movement as he spent 10 years in prison with former President Nelson Mandela.