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South Africa: Former President Zuma Hospitalised For Medical Observation

7 August 2021

South Africa's Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has said former President Jacob Zuma was admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation on Friday 6 August 2021. 

Zuma is currently serving a 15-month prison sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal for refusing to appear before the Zondo Commission of Enquiry that is investigating him over alleged corruption he reportedly committed during his tenure as president.

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DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said that as a former president, the healthcare needs of Zuma require the involvement of the South African Military Health Services. Nxumalo said:

This has been the case since his admission at Estcourt Correctional Centre.

A routine observation prompted that Mr Zuma be taken for in-hospitalisation.

The department pointed out the inmates' health was addressed under Section 35(2) of the Constitution which directs the DCS to ensure that:

Everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment.

Before turning himself to the police on July 8, Zuma argued that his age and health condition and any other mitigating circumstances were not considered when the imprisonment was decided. He added:

Sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic at my age is the same as sentencing me to death.

When he was imprisoned, scores of supporters thronged to the streets in solidarity with the former president. The protests degenerated into chaos and looting.

Many lives were lost during the unrest and investigations are ongoing to identify perpetrators.

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