South Africa’s high court has ordered former President Jacob Zuma to return to jail, after dismissing an earlier decision to release him on medical parole.
It should be recalled that the 79-year old began medical parole in September, and is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, after he ignored instructions to participate in a corruption inquiry.
The legal processes against him 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, particularly against powerful, well-connected people.
Zuma handed himself in on July 7 to begin his prison sentence, triggering the worst violence South Africa had seen in years as his angry supporters took to the streets.
Zuma’s legal team are appealing the latest court ruling, as is the country’s prisons department.
“The judgment is clearly wrong & there are strong prospects that a higher court will come to a totally different conclusion,” Zuma’s charitable foundation stated on Twitter.
Zuma’s presidency between 2009-2018 was reportedly marred by widespread allegations of graft and wrongdoing, and he faces a separate corruption trial linked to his sacking as deputy president in 2005 when he was implicated in a $2 billion government arms deal.