Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma. Image via Twitter.

‘Relieved to be free again’: Zuma on his expired jail sentence

Former President Jacob Zuma says he is relieved to be free again and to do whatever he wants without having to seek permission.

Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma. Image via Twitter.

Former President Jacob Zuma has expressed gratitude to all those who stood by him during his incarceration.

Zuma, who was sentenced to 15-month imprisonment by the Constitutional Court in June 2021 was declared a free man by the Correctional Services on Friday, 7 October. 


In a statement, Zuma said he is relieved to be free again to walk around and do whatever he wants without restrictions and having to seek permission. 

Zuma likened this to the time he was released from Robben Island in 1973, however the exception this time around is that he is filled with sadness. 

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“It was the first time ever that the Constitutional Court sentenced any person to a term of imprisonment and without even the benefit of a trial. I never expected this to happen during the freedom and democracy we fought so hard to attain,” he said.

Zuma said calls, visits and messages of support from various platforms helped to keep him focused and ensure that those who tried to break his spirit did not succeed. 

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to South Africans from all walks of life for the unwavering support and love during a most difficult and trying period,” he said.

As previously reported, the former president could still go back to jail as the Democratic Alliance (DA), Helen Suzman Foundation and others challenged his medical parole and sought to have the decision by former Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser reviewed and set aside.

“Fraser’s parole decision harms the court in exactly the same way that Mr. Zuma’s contempt of court did. It again makes a mockery of the judicial process, sending the message to every South African that, as long as you are powerful and politically connected, you need not fear punishment for breaking the law. If you are sent to prison for your crimes, you will be let out well before the end of your sentence on ‘medical parole’,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said at the time.

The Helen Suzman Foundation had also argued that the time Zuma spent outside of jail should not be counted as part of the 15-month sentence. It is not yet clear whether the Supreme Court of Appeal will uphold an earlier ruling which declared that the parole should not have been granted.