Cape Town: South Africa’s high court ordered former President Jacob Zuma to return to prison, overturning a before judgment to free him on medical parole, According to a court verdict released on Wednesday.
In September, the 79-year-old was granted medical parole and is currently serving a 15-month term for contempt of court after denying cooperating in a corruption investigation.
South Africa’s top court rebuffed Zuma’s attempt to get the sentence overturned in the same month.
The court proceedings against him for suspected corruption during his nine-year presidency are widely regarded as a litmus test for post-apartheid South Africa’s ability to uphold the rule of law, particularly against powerful and well-connected persons.
On July 7, Zuma surrendered to begin his prison sentence, sparking the worst rioting in South Africa in years as his enraged followers went to the streets.
The demonstrations turned violent, with looting and an outpouring of rage over the suffering and inequality that still exist in South Africa 27 years after apartheid ended. Over 300 individuals were slain, and tens of thousands of businesses were looted and demolished.
Zuma’s legal team and the country’s prisons department are appealing the latest court verdict.
Zuma’s philanthropic foundation responded on Twitter, “The judgement is manifestly erroneous, and there are significant hopes that a higher court will reach to a very different result.”
In a statement, the Department of Correctional Services said it would elaborate on its grounds for appeal at a later time.
Zuma’s administration, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, was tarnished by many allegations of graft and malfeasance, and he is also facing a second corruption prosecution stemming from his dismissal as deputy president in the year 2005, when he was alleged of involvement in a $2 billion government arms sale.
Zuma’s trial, which has been stalled for years due to many claims of corruption, racketeering, and money laundering, is set to resume next year.
In all cases, he denies wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a political witchhunt aimed at marginalising his African National Congress party. The party just stated that it was aware of the decision.