Prisons Service announces it will appeal decision to send former President Zuma back to jail

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Archive – Former South African President Jacob Zuma – YESHIEL / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The South African Prison Service has announced that it will appeal a court’s decision to send former President Jacob Zuma, who was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt after refusing to testify in a corruption case, back to prison.

«The Department of Correctional Services is to lodge an appeal against the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling on medical leave for Jacob Zuma,» it said in a statement posted via its account on the social network Twitter.

Thus, he stressed that «after carefully studying the verdict, the Department of Correctional Services is convinced that another court could reach a different conclusion».

The court on Monday ordered Zuma to return to prison after stating that the medical leave granted to him in September was illegal, thus stressing that the former president «has not finished serving his sentence.» «Zuma, according to the law, has not finished serving his sentence,» it said.

He thus ordered that the former president be re-imprisoned in Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal state, although he qualified that the period of incarceration he has left to serve must be determined by the commissioner of correctional services, including the possibility that he may take into account the period he has spent on medical leave.

The Department of Correctional Services said in early September that the former president was on «medical parole.» Following this, the Zuma Foundation -founded by the former president- indicated on October 7 that he was free after 15 months since the sentence was handed down, although the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal left this point up in the air.

Zuma was the first democratically elected president in South Africa to be sentenced to prison since the African National Congress (ANC) — the party he headed between 2007 and 2017, when he was sidelined in an internal council by his deputy president and current leader, Cyril Ramaphosa — took power in 1994.