IFP says while Jacob Zuma’s remission thwarted fears of another unrest, it should not be a precedent

Former president Jacob Zuma who is now a free man. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Former president Jacob Zuma who is now a free man. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Aug 11, 2023


The IFP says the special remission that was granted to former President Jacob Zuma should not set a precedent.

The party made this comment on Friday, following the decision of the Commissioner of Correctional Services, Makgothi Thobakgale, that Zuma be freed as he is not a violent offender.

He is one of the thousands of non-violent offenders who will benefit from this dispensation.

Zuma made a brief appearance at Estcourt prison in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Friday morning, and he was later freed.

His foundation later said he was at home and consulting with his legal team.

The decision has already been criticised by the likes of the DA and ActionSA.

The DA said it was going to legally challenge the decision as it "was nothing more than smoke and mirrors".

In a statement, the IFP said it appreciates the decision, "‘which tempers justice with mercy".

However, it added, this does not take away from the Supreme Court of Appeal 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“.

The IFP said that it believes that further investigation of this irregular decision by the then-National Commissioner, Arthur Fraser, is needed.

Fraser was the prisons commissioner who overrode the medical parole board in September 2021 and freed Zuma.

That decision was challenged in court by the DA, Helen Suzman Foundation, and it was eventually set aside by the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

An appeal by the Department of Correctional Services was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the decision was upheld.

Last month, the Constitutional Court refused to entertain a further appeal by the department, saying it has no prospects of success.

The IFP said the decision, even though questionable, has eased fears of another unrest.

"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," the party said.

The party concluded that a painful chapter has now been closed.

"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," it said.

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