break | Zuma in Russia is seeking medical treatment as court rules he must return to prison

break | Zuma in Russia is seeking medical treatment as court rules he must return to prison

Former President Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma

  • Former President Jacob Zuma is seeking medical treatment in Russia.
  • On Thursday, the Constitutional Court rejected his appeal for medical parole, which could lead to his return to prison.
  • A spokesman for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzanuel Mane, confirmed that Zuma was ill.

News24 has confirmed that former President Jacob Zuma is currently ill and seeking medical help in Moscow, Russia.

This is as the Constitutional Court on Thursday denied the Department of Correctional Services’ application for leave to appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling that he should return to prison.

Two sources familiar with Zuma’s visit said the former president left on Monday for Moscow, where he was receiving treatment.

He traveled commercially to Russia, accompanied by six state-paid bodyguards.

A spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Mzanuel Mane Foundation confirmed to News24 that the former president was in Moscow seeking medical assistance.

“He went for medical check-ups. He wasn’t feeling well,” Mane said. He is expected to return to South Africa next week.

Read | Zuma may return to prison after ConCourt refused to hear correctional services resume

Zuma has long relied on the Russian healthcare system, ever since he was allegedly poisoned in 2014.

In its response to the request for leave to appeal Zuma’s medical parole, the Constitutional Court said the appeal had “no reasonable prospect of success”.

That means the November ruling by the SCA, which said: “Mr Zuma has, by law, not finished serving his sentence. He must return to Estcourt Correctional Center to do so.”

Zuma was jailed in July 2021 for 15 months in contempt of the Constitutional Court after he refused to obey an order to appear before the Zondu Commission.

However, nearly two months later, he was released on medical terms after the then National Commissioner of Corrective Services, Arthur Fraser, overturned the Medical Parole Advisory Board (MPAB) recommendation that the former chief was ineligible.

The DA, AfriForum and Helen Suzman have asked the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to review and set aside Fraser’s decision. Judge Elias Motujan found the decision unlawful.

Mani said the foundation would not comment on the Constitutional Court’s decision.

“It was only DCS that appealed the SCA ruling, and President Zuma only applied for permission to intervene as an interested party only if the appeal was to be made,” he said.

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