Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have another date with the bench today, with his application for leave to appeal against the order by the High Court in Pretoria that he return to prison set down for hearing.
Two months after he was taken into custody at the Estcourt Correctional Centre to start serving the 15-month sentence he got slapped with for contempt, Zuma was in September released on medical parole.
It subsequently emerged that despite the medical parole advisory board having made recommendations to the contrary, the then prisons boss Arthur Fraser had overruled its decision.
The Democratic Alliance, the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and AfriForum all successfully challenged the move, though, with Judge Elias Matojane last week having declared the decision to release Zuma unlawful and ordered his return to prison.
He ruled also that the time he had recently spent on the outside not be considered time served. Zuma promptly responded with an application for leave to appeal.
In his papers, Zuma’s lawyers insisted there were “overwhelmingly good prospects of success” and likened sending the former president back to prison to sentencing him to death.
“It is particularly gross misdirection to order the return of Mr Zuma to jail and to conditions which are far worse than the hospital ward from which his medical parole was granted on the basis that no prison could adequately cater for his constitutional rights. This is tantamount to the death sentence,” the lawyers charged.
The application is expected to be strongly opposed, with both the HSF and AfriForum this week confirming they would be asking the court to dismiss it.
AfriForum’s Ernst Roets said yesterday the organization had not yet filed written submissions but would be making oral arguments in court.
“We’re opposing the application for leave to appeal on the basis that the decision to grant medical parole was a patent illegality and that Zuma is simply appealing to waste time,” Roets said,
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