President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly gave the green light for his predecessor Jacob Zuma to be released on medical parole.
The City Press reported on Sunday national commissioner of correctional services, Arthur Fraser, allegedly consulted Ramaphosa before deciding to release Zuma from prison.
Fraser admitted this week during an interview with the public broadcaster that he had overridden the Medical Parole Advisory Board’s decision not to free the former president from jail.
"The commissioner was legally entitled to release a prisoner on parole, medical parole or day parole, according to the Correctional Services Act."
However, the Act had to be read in conjunction with the Promulgation Of Correctional Services Regulations with Amendments Incorporated, which sets out the process and procedures to be followed when granting medical parole.
Specifically, Section 29A subsection 7, which reads:
"The Medical Parole Advisory Board must make a recommendation to the National Commissioner, the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board or the Minister, as the case may be, on the appropriateness to grant medical parole in accordance with Section 79(1 )(a) of the Act. If the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Board is positive, then the National Commissioner, the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board or the Minister, as the case may be, must consider whether the conditions stipulated in Section 79(1)(b) and (c) are present."
According to sources who spoke to the publication, on condition of anonymity, Zuma is said to be "seriously sick" and there were three medical assessments done by three different doctors who found that correctional service medical facilities were unable to cater for his health problems.
A source said Fraser did not want to have "Zuma dying in prison" apparently over fears this might reignite the riots and unrest that engulfed parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July.
Another source claimed Ramaphosa told last weekend’s ANC virtual national executive committee (NEC) meeting, that he was consulted about Zuma’s release and he approved Fraser’s final decision.
Fraser is taking the fall for the ANC for the drama involving Zuma’s release. This after offering himself as the "sacrificial lamb" due to his authority to grant medical parole to inmates serving less than 24 months in jail.
The Department of Correctional Services announced last Sunday Zuma was granted medical parole after it received medical reports on his health condition, which has not been disclosed to the public.
Zuma was serving a 15-moth jail term at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court. Before his release, he was admitted to a military hospital outside the prison.