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S. African court allows Zuma to appeal return-to-jail order

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By Aluta News

Dec. 21, 2021

A South African court on Tuesday,  granted former president Jacob Zuma leave,  to appeal a ruling that he returned to prison after being released in September on medical parole.

He was however, given permission to spend Christmas at home.

Zuma, 79, was sentenced in June to 15 months in prison for contempt of court,  after ignoring instructions to participate in a corruption inquiry.

He handed himself in to begin his sentence on July 7, triggering some of the worst violence South Africa had seen in years.

Anger from supporters snowballed into broader outrage over hardship and inequalities that persisted for  27 years after the end of apartheid.

Zuma began medical parole in September, but earlier,  South Africa’s high court ordered that decision void and that he should return to jail,  raising concerns about further violence.

The same court ruled on Tuesday that his legal team should be able to appeal against the judgment at a higher court.

Judge Elias Matojane said: “in my view, this matter merits the Supreme Court of Appeal’s attention.’’

He added that there was a reasonable possibility another court might  rule differently on the issue of whether Zuma’s time on medical parole should count toward his sentence. Matojane previously ruled it should not.

“It means the court order cannot be enforced until the superior court hears the matter and makes a judgment,” Department of Correctional Services spokesperson , Singabakho Nxumalo told Reuters in a Whatsapp message.

The legal processes against Zuma for alleged corruption during his nine-year reign are widely viewed as a test of post-apartheid South Africa’s ability to enforce the rule of law against powerful individuals.

Zuma’s 2009-2018 presidency was marred by allegations of graft and wrongdoing, and he faced a separate corruption trial linked to his sacking as deputy president in 2005, when he was implicated in a 2 billion dollars alleged corrupt arms deal.

He denied  wrongdoing in all cases and said  he was  a   victim of politics.

Reuters/NAN