By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Former South African president Jacob Zuma has been set free following the expiry of his prison sentence for contempt of court, the government department said on Friday.
Zuma received a 15-month sentence last year after he ignored instructions to participate in a corruption inquiry.
He handed himself in on July 7 last year to begin his sentence, triggering the worst violence South Africa had seen in years as his angry supporters took to the streets.
“It’s OFFICIAL. H.E President Zuma is now a FREE man,” the Jacob Zuma Foundation said in a tweet.
Zuma was released on medical parole in September 2021. But in December, the high court set aside the parole decision and ordered him to return to jail. Zuma appealed the ruling and remained on parole pending the appeal outcome.
His appeal had not been determined by the time his sentence expired.
“Mr Zuma complied with his conditions for medical parole as set out during his placement,” the Correctional Services department said in a statement.
“All administrative processes have now been concluded and the sentence expiry date marks the end of him serving his sentence under community corrections.” the statement added.
Zuma failed to appear at the inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in February 2021 after which the inquiry’s lawyers approached the constitutional court to seek an order for his imprisonment.
The inquiry was examining allegations of high-level corruption during Zuma’s period in power from 2009 to 2018. Zuma denied wrongdoing and has so far not cooperated.
Zuma was accused of allowing businessmen close to him, brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta to plunder state resources and influence policy.
The Guptas, who also deny wrongdoing, left South Africa after Zuma was ousted in a move orchestrated by allies of his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa has been trying to restore investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialized nation, however, he has faced opposition from a faction within the governing African National Congress party that is still loyal to Zuma.