[imagesource: Esa Alexander]
Has there ever been a more obvious ending to a saga than the announcement that Jacob Zuma has been granted medical parole?
Schabir Shaiks of a feather, I guess.
So yes, after serving a sliver of a sentence at Estcourt Correctional Centre, the former president has been placed on medical parole due to ill health, which essentially amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card.
What exactly constitutes his ill health? Your guess is as good as mine, with officials not giving any details about his condition.
The Daily Maverick has laid out the conditions a prisoner needs to meet in order to qualify for medical parole, and there are some glaring discrepancies in how Zuma’s case played out.
Front and centre is the involvement of Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser, who has a long-standing relationship with Zuma:
Read against the rapid way in which Zuma’s [medical parole] was granted, it is clear that corners were cut by Fraser, who goes back a long way with the former head of state.
Fraser is alleged in reports to have given the so-called ‘spy tapes’ to Zuma which contained details of how his Arms Deal corruption prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority may have been politically tainted.
Later, as DG of the State Security Agency, Fraser commandeered a private intelligence army that served Zuma as the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has been heard.
In order to be granted medical parole, Zuma would have had to lodge an application that laid out his medical incapacity.
After approval by Escourt officials, the application would then be passed on to a Medical Parole Advisory Board to hand down a ruling:
This is where the story gets murky: the Correctional Services Department would not say who was on the board, if it convened, to hear Zuma’s request or application for parole and what the outcome of its deliberations was.
…the board comprises 13 independent medical practitioners who monthly review applications from the country’s 243 prisons. It makes decisions by a majority vote, but the Daily Maverick has been told of concerns that Fraser overrode its decision.
So one bloke, with a long and storied history of subverting justice in favour of Zuma, has likely gone and done it again.
Zapiro’s latest cartoon for The Daily Maverick appears to be on the money:
What a total crock of you know what.
When the news of his parole broke, the Jacob Zuma Foundation took a break from begging for donations to send this tweet:
The Foundation welcomes the decision of the Parole Board that H.E Prez Zuma should serve the rest of his sentence outside prison.
He is still in hospital right now.
A more detailed statement will be issued in due course after consultation with the legal team of President Zuma. pic.twitter.com/dmiD3KzVc8
— JGZuma Foundation (Official) (@JGZ_Foundation) September 5, 2021
Former president Zuma. Get it right.
Back to those concerns about Fraser overriding the Medical Parole Advisory Board, with CapeTalk’s John Maytham interviewing legal journalist Karyn Maughan on the topic.
Here’s some of what Maughan had to say:
People are speaking to us off record, saying that the independent parole board was not satisfied… On Sunday, he [Arthur Fraser] decided to overrule them on this… They will not answer the question of what the medical parole board’s recommendation was… that is profoundly telling…
There does appear to be very strong evidence that the medical parole board fundamentally did not believe there was a basis for parole, and that was overridden… We are not saying he is not unwell… but people refuse to answer questions… It creates a climate of speculation that does not assist Jacob Zuma at all…
That’s all rather polite because there are many who would doubt he is unwell at all.
So here we are, with our former president once again receiving preferential treatment, and justice once more subverted.
You can listen to that full interview with Maughan below:
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