Former South African President Jacob Zuma, convicted in June of contempt of court, was released on parole this Sunday (5) for unspecified medical reasons.
Zuma, 79, has been in hospital since Aug. 6, out of prison where he was serving time for missing court hearings in a case investigating corruption during his government (2009-2018).
With Sunday’s decision, Zuma will serve the remainder of his 15-month sentence out of prison, according to the Department of Correctional Services.
Zuma’s arrest on July 7 sparked a wave of violent protests and looting that left at least 342 people dead in South Africa.
Zuma, one of the leaders in the struggle to end apartheid alongside Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), has been South Africa’s most controversial president since the end of the segregation regime in 1994. His dominance over the internal dynamics of the ANC (African National Congress), the party that has ruled the country for 27 years, was what allowed it to remain on the public stage for so long.
The former South African leader’s political influence, however, has diminished since Cyril Ramaphosa, his deputy, replaced him as head of the party and later president of the country. Before he fell, he saw some of the ANC members and thousands of South Africans take to the streets demanding his resignation.
Having survived an impeachment process, he was subject to internal and external pressures and ended up leaving the presidency in 2018. Since then, he has faced charges of corruption crimes committed before and during his term in court.