President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied that he used remission as a cover to release his predecessor Jacob Zuma from prison.
Ramaphosa told Parliament that he did not violate the Constitution or any law when he granted remission of sentence to Zuma, which allowed him to go home and not serve any time in the Estcourt Correctional Centre.
The Supreme Court of Appeal had ruled last month that Zuma must return to prison after an appeal by the Department of Correctional Services had failed to halt his further incarceration.
Zuma had been granted medical parole by then head of prison Arthur Fraser in 2021.
This was challenged in court by the opposition, who said Zuma must go back to prison to serve the remainder of the sentence.
The Constitutional Court had found Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months. Zuma had defied the Constitutional Court to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Zuma was released on medical parole early.
Ramaphosa, who was answering oral questions in Parliament on Tuesday, denied that he had granted remission of sentence to more than 9,000 prisoners as a cover to free Zuma.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said most of the inmates who were released on remission were likely to go back to jail because of the high rate of recidivism.
But Ramaphosa said there was nothing wrong in granting remission and this was not a ploy to release Zuma.
“Our Constitution is very clear in terms of the rules it sets out for processes such as granting pardons and remissions. Even in this instance when we granted a remission to 9,000 people who had been sentenced, it was not in contravention of our Constitution. It was very much in line with what out Constitution says,” said Ramaphosa.
The opposition has said it would challenge the decision to release Zuma early.
They said Ramaphosa was undermining the rule of law.