The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has started hearing the parole case against former President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma and the Department of Correctional Services are challenging the High Court ruling that his release was unlawful.
The SCA in Bloemfontein is packed to capacity ahead of Zuma’s parole appeal. #SABCNews #Zumaparole #ZumaSCA pic.twitter.com/bWdNnQMMtN
— Aphumelele Mdlalan (@AphumeleleMdla2) August 15, 2022
The then Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser, argued that the law authorized him to release prisoners sentenced to less than two years in prison.
However, the Helen Suzman Foundation, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and lobby group AfriForum allege that Fraser acted outside his legal authority.
Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi says the case is another attempt to undermine the integrity of the former president.
Magny says: “We think the whole thing is really out of place. We should not be dealing here with people challenging the decisions of correctional services, which Arthur Fraser had to do. Indeed, we believe that this matter is political. It’s all about destroying anything that seeks to challenge the establishment.”
Rule of law
Prominent people attending Zuma’s hearing include DA leader John Steenhuizen.
Steenhuizen says prosecutors want to make sure the rule of law is upheld and Zuma serves 15 months in prison for contempt of court.
He says: “We believe that one of the main fundamental principles of any democracy is equality before the law. There should be no special treatment of former presidents, and there should be no difference whether you are an ordinary citizen or a former president, the law should apply to you equally.”
“We are also pursuing this case vigorously because we hope that after the Probe Commission of Inquiry there will be many more arrests of those involved in state capture and we want to quickly close this loophole in parole. making sure that these people don’t slip out of the net,” adds Stenhuizen.
He says South Africa cannot have two sets of laws, one for African National Congress (ANC) cadres and one for the rest of the country.
“Mr Zuma did not meet the conditions of parole. And the fact that his own documents change his parole criteria to the fact that there may have been violence when he was sent to prison is evidence of this case. We cannot have two sets of laws in the Republic of SA; one for the ANC and their connected cadres and one for all of us. We should have equality before the law and that is what we are here to guarantee.”
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Additional reporting by Nomsa Mazibuko and Kamagelo Sikoi