The Department of Correctional Services has granted former president Jacob Zuma permission to attend the funeral of his late younger brother Michael Zuma.
Michael is set to be buried on Thursday afternoon.
“In line with Section 44 (1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act, former president Jacob Zuma has been granted compassionate leave in order to attend to a family bereavement,” correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said in a statement on Thursday morning.
“A sentenced offender who is granted permission to leave a correctional centre remains a sentenced offender even while temporarily outside. The permission granted to Mr Zuma is for [Thursday] 22 July 2021.”
He said when outside a correctional facility, inmates need not wear offender uniforms.
“As a short-term, low risk classified inmate, Mr Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved following the correctional services prescripts.”
On Wednesday, the preparations for Michael’s burial in KwaZulu-Natal coincided with a confirmation from the Correctional Services Department that the former president had indeed applied to leave his Estcourt prison cell to attend the family funeral.
Nxumalo said Zuma’s application was in line with the Correctional Services Act and was being processed by the relevant departmental authorities.
“We can confirm that the former president, Mr Jacob Zuma has applied for Compassionate Leave. It is being dealt with in terms of Section 44(1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998,” Nxumalo said on Wednesday.
Michael died a few days after his older brother handed himself over to authorities to begin serving his 15-month sentence for contempt of court. A senior family member, Khanya Zuma, said Michael was bedridden before he passed away, and his death was not related to the jailing.