Jacob Zuma jail sentence

Jacob Zuma is set to recieve a bull as a gift from ANC councillors. Image: GCIS/ Flickr

Christmas behind bars? Here’s how long Jacob Zuma could spend in jail

Jacob Zuma had thought, quite literally, he’d got out of jail free on this occasion. But uBaba is now likely to be back in a cell soon.

Jacob Zuma jail sentence

Jacob Zuma is set to recieve a bull as a gift from ANC councillors. Image: GCIS/ Flickr

A seismic decision handed down by the High Court in Pretoria has rocked Jacob Zuma and his supporters, after it was declared the former president’s medical parole is now ‘unlawful’, and he must return to jail. The nitty-gritty of this verdict also makes for a fascinating read, and uBaba could be back in the slammer before Christmas.

Jail for Christmas? Msholozi receives worst possible gift

Arthur Fraser’s controversial move to grant medical parole to his long-time buddy had been lambasted to high heaven back in September. A case against the release was filed soon afterwards, and sure enough, it was victorious.

How much jail time must Jacob Zuma serve?

In the last three months, Jacob Zuma has enjoyed all the luxuries of living at home in his sprawling Nkandla homestead. He’s even had time to release a book, chronicling his gripes with the current landscape of Mzansi.

But, amongst the declarations made by the court on Wednesday morning, perhaps the most telling was that none of JZ’s time on the outside will actually count as ‘time served’. That means the length of his sentence will, in effect, be three months longer than it was initially…

“It is declared that the time the Third Respondent [Jacob Zuma] was out of jail on medical parole should not be counted for the fulfillment of the Third Respondent’s sentence of 15 months imposed by the Constitutional Court.”

Gauteng High Court

Jacob Zuma: Possible jail sentence length and release dates

Zuma was eventually jailed in July 2021. That began his 15-month prison stint, which would have taken him up to the latest possible release date of October 2022. However, he secured medical parole with 13 months left to serve.

Should his jail sentence resume this month, that means his latest possible release date will be shifted back to January 2023. But of course, we know it doesn’t always work that way – and rather than medical parole, Jacob Zuma would be allowed to apply for standard parole, by as early as March or April 2022.

The immediate step, however, is to get uBaba back in a jail cell. His incarceration was linked to a wave of deadly riots and protests in the winter – and another attempt to recapture the former president could spark more unrest.