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UPDATE: Zuma's requests to be returned to prison are heard by the High Court.

UPDATE: Zuma's requests to be returned to prison are heard by the High Court.

The Pretoria high court heard on Tuesday that Arthur Fraser, as then national commissioner of correctional services, had no power to grant former president Jacob Zuma medical parole without a recommendation from the parole board that his health required it.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the DA, the Helen Suzman Foundation, and Afriforum made this point in their attempt to overturn his release from Estcourt prison.

Despite the Medical Parole Advisory Board's advice, Fraser granted Zuma medical parole in early September, less than two months after he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court.

Fraser stated in his court affidavit that he released Zuma primarily for medical reasons, but also because he believed that failing to do so would "may have ignited events similar to those of July 2021."

Fraser said he disagreed with the board's decision on September 2 to refuse Zuma medical parole, based on the fact that his health had stabilized since he was transferred to a private hospital, because that could not be assured in prison, putting his life in danger.

Jamie stated that Fraser addressed the situation with the mindset that he would assess where and when to find a balance between numerous aspects.

Mr Fraser claims that the only negative component is the medical board's negative recommendation, but unfortunately for him, the negative recommendation is a positive jurisdictional need for medical parole to be granted, and that without it, Mr Zuma's path to medical parole would be blocked. Mr Fraser should never have gotten to 79(1)(b) and (c), and he was prevented from doing so because Mr Zuma failed to pass 79(1). (a). As a result, there was no balancing act to be performed.

Zuma's medical records are still classified as top secret, according to Fraser's court papers. Jamie said that none of the doctor reports he submitted to the board mentioned a terminal diagnosis, but rather indicated that he had suffered from frostbite.

Nobody with common sense would argue that a 79-year-old man being imprisoned is not a happy or desirable situation, but regrettably for Mr Zuma, the rule of law must take precedence over his personal interests in this case," Jamie remarked. The Helen Suzman Foundation's lawyer, Max du Plessis, urged that Zuma should be sent back to prison to serve the rest of his sentence for ignoring a Constitutional Court order to testify before the Zondo panel of investigation.

He stated The relief is a no-brainer.

"The question of what should happen to Mr Zuma is that he must return to prison... to serve the remainder of his term," Du Plessis said, adding that time spent on medical parole should not be counted toward his sentence.

Medical parole did not make Zuma a free man, according to Judge Elias Matojane, but Du Plessis claimed that the circumstances of parole were clearly not prison.

He emphasized that Fraser lacked the authority to make or overturn a judgment that was reserved for the board under the law, making the matter simple.

Instead, he summarily overturned the board's judgment, therefore acting illegally. Even Fraser's declaration never claims that Zuma is terminally sick, instead looking for other reasons to justify his judgment, such as the former president's age and frailty, as well as mentioning the deadly public unrest that erupted in July in response to his detention.

"Of course, there would not be seniors in prison if the first of these arguments were relevant," Du Plessis added.

"All prisoners might threaten prison riots unless they were allowed medical parole," he said, "because then all prisoners could threaten prison riots.

Afriforum contended that once the court agreed Fraser's conduct were unreasonable, the court had no choice but to declare them unlawful, and expressed concern that his successor as national commissioner was resisting the release challenge.

The national commissioner's lawyer, Simon Mphahlele, contended that the case was not urgent and that Fraser had the authority to order Zuma's release. He claimed that he had the right to evaluate other findings in addition to the board's, and that a report submitted by a military physician, Dr. Mafa, revealed that Zuma had a chronic and terminal illness.

The board had reviewed these and other reports before deciding to deny Zuma medical parole, according to the court. Zuma would have been eligible for conventional parole at this point if Fraser had not decided differently.

Zuma's lawyer, Dali Mpofu, read from a medical report prepared by one of Zuma's doctors, which stated that Zuma had a condition that rendered him prone to "unpredictable" medical issues and necessitated 24-hour medical care. Returning him to prison, as a result, could be a life-threatening decision.

All three applications were labeled by Mpofu as "right wing" and "racist," and the challenge was deemed a waste of the court's time.

My Lord, the organizing question that can be asked is on what basis can these busybodies be given an urgent audience to present a plainly political driven application and a publicity stunt, the conclusion of which is probably moot?

Zuma would have served a quarter of his sentence at this point and been eligible for standard release if Fraser had not decided otherwise. Unlike Mpofu, who believes the case's decision is academic, Du Plessis believes Zuma may be returned to prison and apply for regular or medical parole if he so desires.

"We are striving for respect for the rule of law and vindication of the Constitutional Court's verdict in this case," he stated of the foundation's mission and goals.

Mpofu contended that if the court deemed Fraser's judgment to be unconstitutional, Zuma's application for medical parole should be referred back to the board for reconsideration, rather than being sent back to prison.

Given that the matter "raises questions in the public interest Matojane postponed judgment, adding he will make his decision as soon as feasible.

Source :://

UPDATE: High court hears pleas to return to Zuma to prison https://mg.co.za/politics/2021-11-23-high-court-hears-pleas-to-return-to-zuma-to-prison/ via @mailandguardian 

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