Disgraces businessman Sifiso Zulu’s frantic attempts to avoid a jail cell ended on Thursday when the socialite was discharged from Westville Prison’s hospital wing to face his first night on a steel bed.
And if all other manoeuvres – including a potential Supreme Court of Appeal challenge – fail, it will be the first of many nights spent at the prison’s Medium B wing.
But Zulu is hoping to benefit from the remission of sentence announced by President Zuma during recent Freedom Day celebrations.
He was moved to a cell from the high care unit of the prison’s hospital, the Department of Correctional Services confirmed
on Thursday, although it would not say where within the prison complex.
“Some details have to be kept confidential,” said department spokeswoman Nokuthula Zikhali, who would also not divulge whether Zulu would be sharing a cell with anyone – or what the nature of his medical condition was, except to say that his hospital stay was for a “medical assessment”.
Zikhali said all prisoners were entitled to the assessment to ascertain whether they were fit to be imprisoned
. The assessments “could take up to 21 days”, she added.
Zulu was convicted in 2008 on two counts of culpable homicide.
The conviction and effective three-year sentence were confirmed by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on May 4, but he failed to report to start his jail term, claiming that neither he nor his attorney had been informed of the judgment.
An order of surrender was served on Zulu on May 9, giving him 48 hours to hand himself over.
But the former president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce partied late into the night on the Durban beachfront on the day he was supposed to have handed himself in.
When police arrived at the flat on May 12 with a warrant for his arrest, they were told he was not there. They caught up with him later that day.
A day earlier Zulu brought an urgent bail application before Judge Piet Koen, but was slammed for not respecting the court and treating the legal process “like rubbish”.
Of his prison stay, Lukas Muntingh, co-founder and project co-ordinator of the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative, said high-profile criminals could be kept separate from other inmates because they might be targeted.
“If there is a perception that they have access to money, they would be at risk of extortion,” Muntingh said. - Daily News