Former president Jacob Zuma’s release from prison on medical parole was a decision taken by the Department of Correctional Services “without my knowledge,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.Ramaphosa said he only knew about Zuma’s pending release after the decision had already been taken by Correctional Services head Arthur Fraser who is a good friend of the former president.
“Arthur Fraser is a Commissioner of Prisons and he took the decision as he did after receiving a medical report. I got to know this after the decision was taken,” Ramaphosa told journalists in Soweto on the sidelines of the launch of the ruling African National Congress (ANC)’s registration campaign for local government elections.
He added: “He took the decision as he is entitled to do so as the commissioner.”
The opposition Democratic Alliance said it would approach the courts to find out who was responsible for releasing the former president who was serving a 15-month sentence at a prison in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Zuma was locked up after defying the Constitutional Court’s order to appear before a commission probing corruption under his government which ended in 2018.
Ramaphosa kicked off the ANC’s municipal election campaign on Saturday, telling reporters that all technical glitches that might hamper the ANC from winning the majority of municipalities had been resolved.
He said he wanted to encourage all eligible voters to use this voter registration weekend to check, update and verify their status on the voters’ roll before going out in their numbers to cast their votes on 1 November.