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Former South African President Zuma Granted Pardon, Avoids Return To Jail

The Democratic Alliance is filing a suit to overturn the decision of Zuma’s pardon.

Former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. who served just two months of a 15-month term in prison in 2021, received a remission from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, averting a judgment that might have sent him back to prison. 

For refusing to attend court before a corruption investigation, Zuma was imprisoned in July 2021, but he was freed on medical parole after two months. However, a court ruling that was supported by the constitutional court concluded that this was a bad choice. The South African prison system’s director was supposed to decide on his continued detention this week. The remission on Friday appears to make that decision irrelevant.

After Zuma was imprisoned in 2021, there were violent demonstrations that resulted in over 300 casualties, and there were worries that if he were sent to prison again, there may be additional unrest.

Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale, South Africa’s national commissioner of correctional services told reporters that Zuma appeared for about one hour on Friday morning at the Estcourt Correctional Facility in his native region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where he had been detained in 2021, as he had to go through “administrative processes” before the remission kicked in.

According to the commissioner, prison authorities would stay in touch with Zuma just like they do with other criminals who have been pardoned.

The Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition group in the nation, announced in a statement that it will file a suit to overturn the decision to award Zuma the extraordinary pardon.

A representative for Zuma’s foundation stated that Zuma was at home speaking with his legal counsel and that a comment could come at a later time.

In KZN and within some factions of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, led by his successor Ramaphosa, Zuma, 81, continues to have a devoted following. He disputes the claims of corruption against him and portrays himself as the target of a politically driven witch-hunt by an ANC faction.

Zuma has entered a not guilty plea to accusations of corruption, fraud, racketeering, and money laundering relating to a weapons sale from the 1990s in a different case that is now pending in court.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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