Johannesburg – It is still not yet clear whether former state President Jacob Zuma will be granted compassionate leave so that he can attend the funeral of his late younger brother Michael who served as family spokesperson during his tenure as state number one.
The religious community has joined mounting calls demanding that correctional services give Zuma a temporary waiver.
“The prison system shouldn’t be prejudicial. The former president enjoys equal rights like any other citizen and must be allowed to bury his brother. He is a respected statesman and poses no flight risk. This is not how the state should treat senior citizens. Besides, Zuma is one of a few selfless freedom fighters who put their bodies on the line for SA to be free,” said Bishop Vusi Dube, speaking on behalf of clergymen in KZN supporting Zuma.
According to the family, Micheal will be laid to rest on Thursday or Friday in his ancestral village of KwaNxamalala in eNkandla, northern KZN.
While the family confirmed to Sunday World that since last week there were plans and talks with the relevant departments to get Zuma out, the Department of Correctional Services says the application for compassionate leave has yet to be received.
According to Section 44 (1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act, an inmate is allowed to attend a funeral outside of prison after applying for a temporary absence.
South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights on Wednesday said it will be putting pressure on the government to release Zuma.
“Zuma must not be denied his rights as protected by the constitution to attend the funeral of his loved one. He must not be treated like a hardcore criminal,” said Golden Miles Bhudu.
Zuma is serving a 15 months contempt of court sentence at the KZN based Estcourt correctional facility.
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