The former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has been allowed to briefly leave prison to attend his brother’s funeral in Nkandla.
The funeral of Michael Zuma is set for this Thursday.
Zuma, 79, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for refusing to appear before the Zondo Commission of Enquiry that is investigating him for corruption he allegedly committed during his 9-year-tenure as president.
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He handed himself to the police on July 8 and has been at the Estcourt prison since then sparking widespread violent protests and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
At least 276 people are said to have died in the unrest. The department of correctional services said in a statement Thursday:
As a short-term, low-risk classified inmate, Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved.
It added that inmates were not required to wear “offender uniform” outside correctional facilities.
Local media say Zuma’s brother died aged 77 after a long illness.
Inmates in South Africa are usually allowed to attend relatives’ funerals, a right denied to the country’s first black president Nelson Mandela when he was in jail for fighting the apartheid regime.
Zuma’s long-running corruption trial is expected to resume on August 10, despite his request to have the case postponed due to the pandemic and recent unrest.
After nine years in office, the charismatic ex-leader was ousted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in 2018 over a mounting series of graft scandals.
He faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering, and has entered a not guilty plea.
He retains a fervent support base both within the ANC and among the general public.
More: Pindula News; AFP