Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judges have stressed the need to understand how former Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser assessed medical reports before releasing former president Jacob Zuma on medical grounds.

Zuma and the Department of Correctional Services presented their case to the SCA in Bloemfontein in an attempt to overturn a High Court decision that declared his release on medical grounds illegal.

Judge Nolwazi Mabindla-Bokwana told Correctional Services counsel Barrister Maribolle Mphahlele that the court had no information about the illness Zuma was suffering from. On the other hand, Judge Clive Paskett added that Fraser had never claimed that Zuma suffered from a terminal illness.

Maribollo Mphahlele’s lawyer insists there is nothing wrong with the decision to release Zuma from prison on parole, even though the Parole Advisory Board was against it.

He argued that the Parole Advisory Board’s report was not the deciding factor for parole. Mphahlele goes on to say that the board’s report is in addition to other reports submitted to the national commissioner.

The board said Zuma was not eligible for parole.

“Firstly, we submit that the National Commissioner has the power to determine parole in relation to all matters falling within section 79 1AB. And for this the DA recognized that the power rests with the national commissioner and also in his arguments he also recognized that the national commissioner’s power to grant parole depends on….in other words he can grant parole to a particular offender provided all the requirements are met “, says Mphahlele.

In a statement, senior counsel Dali Mpofu, who represents Zuma, argued that his health undoubtedly qualified him for parole. Mpofu argued that the High Court failed to establish one of the criteria, which is the issue of terminal illness.

And that the Correctional Services Act empowered the national commissioner to act decisively and protect prisoners’ rights to adequate medical treatment.

Mpofu says there was a contradiction in the interpretation of the Correctional Services Act.

“The purpose of the medical practitioners is that Mr Zuma is suffering from a medical condition. When you say it, it doesn’t matter if it’s an affirmation of an affirmation or something else. This allegation is therefore false because you cannot say that none of the medical practitioners involved in this matter anywhere state that Mr. Zuma is suffering from the same disease and in the same breath you say that Dr. Mara says that he is suffering from a fatal disease. disease or condition. It’s just inconsistency.”
Court proceedings on Monday:

Democratic Alliance (DA) legal representative Ismail Jamie defended the Parole Advisory Board’s position.

“The council has to make recommendations in terms of the act and you will find that there is no application in the express terms of the council making the recommendations. The emphasis is on the board providing an independent medical report on whether he is eligible for parole.’

The Helen Suzman Foundation said the Parole Advisory Board must give a positive answer in order for the inmate to be eligible for parole. Senior legal counsel Max du Plessis claims then national commissioner Arthur Fraser failed to explain why he ignored the board’s report.

“Mr. Zuma himself admits that the national commissioner is not a doctor to be expected to give medical opinions, so Mr. Fraser cannot meet the objective requirements of the statute.”

AfriForum argues that only the Medical Parole Advisory Board can decide whether an application for parole meets the requirements of the law.

Judgment protected.

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