Correctional Services’ National Commissioner makes decision on Jacob Zuma’s incarceration

The Department of Correctional Services’ National Commissioner, Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale has released a statement laying out his decision regarding the Incarceration of former president, Jacob Zuma.

The full statement reads as follows:

Having studied the Judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), submissions by interested parties, legal advice(s) and also guided by the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, as the National Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, I have exercised my discretion as per the SCA Judgement, in making a decision whether or not to take into account the period served under Community Corrections by the former President, Mr Jacob Zuma.

The Supreme Court of Appeal found that the National Commissioner’s decision to place Mr Zuma on medical parole was unlawful and unconstitutional. This finding rendered everything done in terms of the said decision null and void.

The SCA further stated that once its order in the appeal is handed down -Mr Zuma’s position as it was prior to his release on medical parole will be reinstated. It further stated that, in law, Mr Zuma has not finished serving his sentence, and that he must return to the Estcourt Correctional Centre to do so.

The Constitutional Court decided to leave the said decision intact .Although the SCA and the High Court both consider the decision of the then National Commissioner as unlawful, Mr Zuma was not discharged (released), but he was placed under community corrections where he continued serving his sentence, under strict conditions.

Parole in South Africa is a form of punishment which is served by an inmate within the system of community corrections in terms of Chapter VI of the Correctional Services Act of 1998.

When Mr Zuma left from a medical hospital upon placement on medical parole, he was continuously under community corrections serving his sentence. He was never a free man with effect from 8 July 2021.

In compliance with the SCA Judgement, MrZuma did report back at Estcourt Correctional Centre.

A consideration has been made as per legislation, including processes that were already unfolding in the management of correctional services. The administrative procedures have ensued and Mr Zuma has been processed accordingly.

I have therefore advised the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services of my decision.


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