The Democratic Alliance has welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling to uphold former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole as illegal.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein effectively ruled that Zuma should return to the Escourt Correctional Centre.
The SCA, however, says it’s got no power to determine how inmates serve their sentences, and when they do qualify for parole.
It’s left that decision with the Department of Correctional Services.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the ruling will go a long way in preventing the abuse of medical parole in future and that the law should be applied equally to everyone.
The court was very specific that he must go to jail and that he must serve out the remainder of his sentence,” he said.
“But what they did leave to the discretion of the commissioner was to determine how much of the sentence had already been served.
“So just like any other, and I take no pleasure in people going to jail, but the law must apply equally to all South Africans regardless of whether you’re a former president or an ordinary citizen,” Steenhuisen said.
While the commissioner has many factors to consider when calculating the rest of Zuma’s prison sentence, the threat of violence and unrest from his supporters cannot be one of them.
Steenhuisen says that this time around, security forces have no excuse not to be prepared.
“If that becomes the consideration, the precedent that that sets is frankly too ghastly to contemplate. Because it means that every warlord or rabble-rouser simply has to stir up public anger and violence to be able to avoid having the law applied to them.
“Secondly, I would hope that the South African Police Service and particularly our alleged Minister of Police Bheke Cele would be a lot more prepared this time for any potential outfall and that it is contained at source,” he said.
“Had we contained this particular uprising in July when it began outside the Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, I think we could have prevented it.”