The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) notes that former President Jacob Zuma returned to Estcourt Prison on the morning of 11 August. We further note that he was released on the same morning, under the remission of sentence process, which is a mechanism to deal with overcrowding in prisons.
Former President Zuma is allegedly one of more than 9 000 low-risk prisoners who are to be released.
As the IFP, we appreciate this decision, which tempers justice with mercy. However, this does not take away from the SCA judgment, which held that “the Commissioner’s decision [to grant medical parole] was unlawful and unconstitutional. The high court was correct to set it aside.”
We therefore believe that further investigation of this irregular decision by the then-National Commissioner is needed.
While we welcome that the decision to release former President Zuma closes the door to more possible unrest, we wish to state clearly that it should not be considered a precedent. Lawlessness and violence – or the threat of violence – must never outweigh the need for justice, accountability, and consequences for one’s actions.
It is our hope that we can now close this very painful chapter in our nation’s history- which culminated in the devastating and destructive riots and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in 2021 – and move forward as a country.
Hon. Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539