DA’s John Steenhuisen to challenge Jacob Zuma’s medical parole
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DA Leader John Steenhuisen has hit back at former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole on Sunday night, saying it made a mockery of the justice system.
Steenhuisen was responding to the announcement by the Department of Correctional Services, that the decision to parole Zuma followed the department receiving a medical report.
Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the Correctional Services Act afforded the national commissioner a responsibility to place under correctional supervision or day parole, or grant parole or medical parole, to a sentenced offender serving a sentence of incarceration of 24 months or less.
“The risk of re-offending by released inmates must also be low and there must be appropriate arrangements for the inmate’s supervision, care and treatment within the community to which the inmate is to be released to,” Nxumalo said.
But, Steenhuisen said the latest development made a mockery of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act.
He said following the granting of unlawful medical parole to Schabir Shaik in 2009, Parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services unanimously supported the amendment of Section 79 of the act, to stipulate that the the minister must establish a medical advisory board to provide an independent medical report to the national commissioner, correctional supervision and parole board or the minister, as the case may be, in addition to a medical report.
“A report on the health status of any prisoner must be subject to the recommendation by an independent board to confirm, in truth, that a prisoner is indeed deserving of medical parole. Given that Jacob Zuma publicly refused to be examined by an independent medical professional, let alone a medical advisory board, this decision is a violation of the act and therefore unlawful,” Steenhuisen said.
He also said the parole was granted by someone who has close ties with Zuma.
“It should also be noted that this medical parole was granted to Zuma by his former spy boss, Arthur Fraser - a man allegedly deeply implicated in the corruption of the State Security Agency and accused of running an illegal parallel intelligence structure. Instead of firing him from his administration, President Cyril Ramaphosa promoted him to his current position of prisons boss,” Steenhuisen said.
He stated that he would be submitting an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for the records of the parole board, to establish what criteria the Department of Correctional Services used to determine Zuma’s eligibility for medical parole.
“I will also request that the justice and correctional services committee summon Arthur Fraser to explain to Parliament his decision to grant this medical parole in direct contravention of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act,” Steenhuisen said.