Former President Jacob Zuma’s seemingly never-ending legal woes are expected to resume at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Monday.
This time his legal team are attempting to overturn a court ruling relating to his release from prison, on medical parole by former prison boss Arthur Fraser.
Last December, Gauteng high court judge Elias Matojane ruled that Fraser’s decision to release the former head of state on parole was unlawful and ordered Zuma to return to prison.
But Matojane also granted Zuma and the national correctional services commissioner leave to appeal that ruling.
Zuma had only served two months of a 15-month prison sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court for contempt of its order compelling him to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
But the medical parole advisory board also did not support Zuma’s release from prison because the former president did not suffer from any terminal disease or condition.
But Fraser, whose contract as national commissioner ended that same month, overruled the medical parole board, saying Zuma was an old, frail person who suffered from multiple comorbidities requiring specialised treatment.
Zuma’s lawyers are expected to argue that those wanting to send him back to prison have misunderstood the law and that his imprisonment serves to rob the former head of state of some of his fundamental rights as a person who has been convicted and sentenced.
If the high court’s order is reinstated, Zuma will have to serve the remainder of 13 months of the Constitutional Court’s sentence.
But the matter is likely to go back to the Constitutional Court if the SCA appeal is unsuccessful.
Zuma’s arrest in July last year prompted a devastating attack on his home province, KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, as protests against his incarceration evolved into a violent looting orgy for over a week.
Civilians were forced to take up arms to defend their homes, businesses and neighbourhoods vulnerable to mob attacks.
But the tensions also led to devastating, racially charged vigilante attacks in one of the worst displays of aggressive lawlessness in post-apartheid South Africa.