Dept of Correctional Services mum on how long Jacob Zuma will be free

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The Department of Correctional Services has declined to divulge details around whether former president Jacob Zuma’s compassionate leave to attend his brother’s funeral in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, would be for a few hours or a day, due to security reasons.

On Thursday morning, the department confirmed that Zuma’s application to attend his younger brother, Michael’s, funeral, was processed and approved in line with the correctional services’ prescripts.

Zuma’s brother died earlier this month after a long illness just a few days after the former president was incarcerated at Estcourt Correctional Centre in KZN for contempt of court.

In an interview with Radio 702, correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Zuma was home at his Nkandla homestead with family preparing for the funeral.

He said the department could not give specifics around whether the former president would be home for a few hours or a few days. However, he said Zuma would be closely monitored by correctional services officials.

“We considered and approved his application but unfortunately I can’t divulge the number of days because that may impact on the security that we have put into that particular plan as that might put everything at risk,” Nxumalo said.

“I’m unable to divulge if he will be back today but the Act [Correctional Services Act] is very clear because when you’re granted that leave it’s on a temporary basis, meaning that it cannot be that someone is allowed to be home for an extended number of days. You’re still an inmate and we still have to monitor you.”

The Department of Correctional Services said the former president was classified as a low-risk inmate, adding that he would not wear an offender’s uniform during his temporary release.

“A sentenced offender who is granted permission to leave a correctional centre remains a sentenced offender even while temporarily outside. The permission granted to Mr Zuma is for 22 July 2021,” the department said in a statement.

Zuma is serving a 15-month jail sentence after he was found guilty of contempt of court for his refusal to obey court orders to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

-The Citizen

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