The powers of the Commissioner of Correctional Services will be under the spotlight in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Monday.
Former President Jacob Zuma and the Department of Correctional Services are challenging a High Court ruling that declared Zuma’s release on health grounds unlawful.
In its decision, the High Court said the case raised important legal issues, the nature of the power to review and decide parole applications and the role of the Parole Advisory Board.
Former President Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court for failing to comply with an earlier Constitutional Court order requiring him to appear before a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture.
Former Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser released Zuma after he served less than two months of his sentence, against the recommendation of the Parole Advisory Board.
AfriForum’s head of policy and action, Ernst Roth, insists that the parole requirements did not consist of:
Legal expert Machini Motlung says the appeal is based on an interpretation of the Correctional Services Act.
“There are three requirements that must be met in order for a person to be eligible for parole, and these requirements are neatly packaged in section 79 of the Correctional Services Act. And, among other things, that the applicant must be terminally ill or physically incapacitated to be considered for medical parole.
Former Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser argued that Zuma suffered from multiple co-morbidities and that correctional services could not offer him the specialized treatment he needed.
Legal expert Sekanjela Moeketi says: “Section 79 requires that the person be terminally ill. So if you apply section 79, there might be a different conclusion because now the terminally ill may not apply in terms of what appears to be a medical report, but section 75 gives the national commissioner that power. I think that’s the difference.”
In documents provided to the SCA, Zuma claims the former correctional services commissioner had a duty to protect him as a prisoner.
However, respondents, the DA, and the Helen Suzman Foundation argue that the Parole Advisory Board is the statutory body that recommends whether or not to grant parole.