Zuma escapes further jail time due to overcrowding

South Africa: South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been freed from serving further time in prison after being granted a remission status. Remission status is granted to low-risk and non-violent offenders.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told the media that the remission decision was taken to address overcrowding in prisons. He says that this “remission process” started in April.

Zuma handed himself over at Escourt prison, in KwaZulu-Natal at 0600 local time (0400GMT) on Friday, and was “admitted” into the system, South Africa’s Commissioner of Prisons Makgothi Thobakgale said.

He was then released an hour later under a special remission process. The remission status was approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa to more than 9,00 low-risk prisoners Zuma was sentenced in June 2021 to 15 months in jail for contempt of court after refusing to testify before a panel probing financial sleaze and cronyism under his presidency.

He was however freed on medical parole just two months into his term. His jailing sparked protests that descended into riots and looting that left more than 350 dead.

An appeals court last November found the release was illegally granted and ordered Zuma back to prison to finish his sentence. Last month, the constitutional court rejected an attempt to overturn this decision.

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