One of two things happened on Wednesday night: either Arthur Fraser, the National Commissioner for Correctional Services, flexed his legal acumen and political authority to help Jacob Zuma or his frank admission might cost Zuma his chance to leave his prison cell early on medical parole.
This is because Fraser confirmed that he “overruled the parole board” in order to secure a quick release from jail for Zuma. Earlier this week it was confirmed that Zuma would be granted medical parole but the reasons why were not revealed. Then Fraser told the SABC that he personally intervened on the matter.
“He came to our facility, we have a responsibility to provide security and care. And as in all instances, when we admit a person into our facility, we make sure we do a full assessment, including a health assessment. He was frail and required specialised treatment. Correctional services allocated a doctor to do an observation. But the board did not approve medical parole. I had then… reviewed the information available, which indicated that the conditions, based on all the reports that we have, require us to release the former president.” | Arthur Fraser
The Correctional Services Act of 1998 does allow for the National Commissioner to decide who gets medical parole and they do have the authority to make the final call, however any inspecting judge can call the matter for “reconsideration”. This means that should this happen, the ruling that granted Zuma medical parole will be suspended until a final outcome is decided on by the board. And if this happens, Fraser will have to prove that he had sufficient reasons to parole Zuma.
Several legal experts have said that is possible that the ruling will be called for “reconsideration” as Fraser’s actions were contradictory to the original ruling of the parole board.
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