Former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal will be dignified throughout his term, says Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.

The former statesman, 79, was sentenced to 15 months in jail on 29 June for defying an instruction to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power.

Addressing reporters outside the correctional centre on Thursday, the Minister confirmed that the former President had been admitted into the facility in the early hours of the morning, in compliance with the constitutional court order.

He said Zuma would be treated in line with the department’s mandate and in terms of the Nelson Mandela Rules, which are universal rules for the treatment of inmates.

“Rule 1 is emphatic – all inmates shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings.”

The correctional centre is a medium B facility, which houses both youth and adult inmates. It was opened by former Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha in 2019. It is a new generational correctional centre with an approved bed capacity of 512 inmates. It also has a hospital section.

As a precaution and in line with COVID-19 measures, the former President will be placed in isolation for a period of 14 days, said the Minister.

He will be assessed by the department’s medical team in conjunction with the South African military service and this will determine the conditions of his incarceration.

Lamola said an assessment was done to determine the major risks and needs of the offender.

“A complete profile will then be submitted with the recommendations to the Case Management Committee,” said the Minister.

This process will assist to determine the appropriate classification of the former President.

He said all these systems are in place to ensure that incarceration is done in a manner which was not retributive, but humane.

“It should be noted that in terms of Section 73 (6a) of the Correctional Services Act, an offender serving a determinate or cumulative sentences of not more than 24 months, may not be placed on parole or day parole until such offender has served either the stipulated non-parole period, or if no non-parole period was stipulated, a quarter of the sentence.

“In this case, there is no stipulation for the non-parole period, this effectively means that the former President will be eligible for parole once a quarter of his sentence has been served.

Source: South African Government News Agency