ConCourt rules that Jacob Zuma must go back to jail to finish his sentence

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jul 13, 2023


The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application by the Department of Correctional Services, which wanted to appeal the ruling that effectively sent former president Jacob Zuma back to prison to finish his sentence.

His jailing sparked the July 2021 unrest that saw KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng businesses looted and burned, and over 350 people killed.

In a ruling on Thursday afternoon, the highest court in the land dismissed the main application by the department. It also dismissed the application to intervene, which was made by Zuma’s legal team.

It said both had no prospects of success, effectively sending Zuma back to jail without giving timelines for when that should happen.

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for leave to appeal (main application) and the application to intervene.

“It has been concluded that the main application should be dismissed as it bears no reasonable prospects of success.

“Consequently, the application to intervene falls to be dismissed,” the ConCourt ruled.

Zuma was jailed in July 2021 for refusing to abide by the court’s directive to appear before the Zondo Commission and testify.

However, the then Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser granted him medical parole and freed him in September just three months into his 15-month sentence.

The DA, Helen Suzman Foundation and Afriforum challenged the decision in court and won when it was ruled that Zuma’s release was illegal.

The department said it was still studying the judgment.

“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is studying the Constitutional Court judgment for the review application in relation to the medical parole placement for the former President, Mr Jacob Zuma.

“DCS is seeking legal advice and will comment further in due course,” It said in a statement shortly after the ruling.

The spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, said the right people to comment on are the department since it is the one that made the application.

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