Former President Jacob Zuma will have to go back to prison to serve out the remainder of his term for contempt of court, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa ruled on Monday.
The court ruled that it was illegal to release Zuma on an early medical parole.
After refusing to comply with a court order to provide testimony at a government investigation into widespread wrongdoing during his tenure as president, Zuma was given a 15-month prison sentence in 2021.
After serving only a portion of his sentence, Zuma was granted medical parole in September 2021. In December, the high court overturned the parole judgment and ordered Zuma to report back to prison.
“In other words, Mr Zuma, in law, has not finished serving his sentence. He must return to the Escourt Correctional centre to do so,” the Supreme Court of Appeal judgement read.
The court took issue with the department’s claim that Zuma’s sentence had ended when the appeal was still being heard.
It also found that the decision by the former national commissioner of correctional services to grant Zuma medical parole against the advice of the Medical Parole Advisory Board, a specialist body, was unlawful.
“On any conceivable basis, the commissioner’s decision was unlawful and unconstitutional. The high court was correct to set it aside,” the judgement said.