Former president Jacob Zuma has spent his first night in the comfort of his Nkandla home after being discharged from a Gauteng hospital on Wednesday, three independent sources have confirmed to TimesLIVE.
“He is in his Nkandla home but he will be returning to spend the whole of next week in Johannesburg. We are just happy that he is fine and things are somewhat back to normal, though not 100% yet,” said one of the sources with intimate details, who asked not to be named.
The source said Zuma’s return was being kept low-key as it was believed that they did not want people to flock to the compound or any fanfare around his return.
The 79-year-old former head of state started serving his sentence in July after he was found guilty of contempt of court for failure to comply with an order of the Constitutional Court to honour a summons to appear before the state capture inquiry.
He was sentenced to 15 months behind bars and spent several weeks of his incarceration in the medical wing of the Estcourt Correctional Centre before being moved to an external hospital for further treatment.
The family told TimesLIVE previously that Zuma had been unwell since he was “poisoned” in 2014. The Sunday Times reported that he travelled to Russia to confirm the diagnosis and undergo treatment.
He was granted medical parole by head of correctional services Arthur Fraser and is set to spend the remainder of his sentence at his Nkandla home.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation’s Mzwanele Manyi previously said details of Zuma’s discharge would not be made public due to security reasons. “Due to a frenzy of media enquiries, the foundation wishes to advise that due to security reasons, the discharge of [former] President Zuma from the hospital will not be announced. At the right time, subject to correctional services conditions, further announcements will be made,” said Manyi.
Zuma’s family, friends and relatives in kwaDakwadunuse who were eagerly awaiting his return had planned to give him a hero’s welcome. Celebrations that were planned had included a prayer and the slaughtering of bulls to give thanks to the ancestors for Zuma’s safe return.
At the time, Zuma’s other brother Khanya said, “Usually when something good happens we slaughter cows to say thank you, but we have not met to discuss how we are going to celebrate.”
On Thursday Khanya said, “I just got a call from my brother Joseph now asking me whether I had gone to see him because he arrived home last night. I told him that I had not heard that he was home already.”
He said he was waiting for his elder brother Joseph to return from Durban. On his return, they will both go to Zuma’s compound to see him.
Joseph also confirmed the news. “I am rushing there now to see him. I am very happy he is back safely,” he said.
Earlier this week, TimesLIVE reported that at the Pietermaritzburg high court a legal team appointed by the state, which has been given access to Zuma’s medical records, deemed that he is fit to stand trial.
This is according to the latest affidavit filed by advocate Billy Downer, who is leading the prosecution team in the arms deal trial in which Zuma and French arms company Thales are facing a myriad of charges.
It was disclosed in court that Zuma was recently being treated at a hospital in Pretoria.
Zuma wants Downer – and in fact all National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutors – off the case, claiming they are biased.
On Monday Zuma reportedly penned an open letter saying that SA was becoming a “constitutional dictatorship”. Zuma said the public have been “hypnotised” by an anti-Zuma narrative, and accused the judiciary of bending and manipulating the laws on several occasions to target him.
The former president detailed three instances which he said proved his claims, including the establishment of the state capture inquiry and the refusal by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself as the chair of the inquiry.
Article written by: Amanda Khoza
Photo credit: SANDILE NDLOVU