By Kwanta Douglas –
According to the authorities, South Africa’s imprisoned ex-president Jacob Zuma was granted compassionate leave from prison on Thursday to attend his brother’s funeral.
Zuma, 79, was sentenced to 15 months in prison last month for contempt of court after ignoring graft investigators investigating his presidency.
On July 8, he surrendered to a jail in Estcourt, in the eastern province of South Africa, about an hour’s drive from his rural Nkandla home.
According to report, his arrest provoked riots and looting that turned into the worst violence since apartheid ended, killing at least 276 people.
“As a short-term, low-risk classified inmate, Mr Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved,” the department of correctional services said in a statement Thursday.
Outside of correctional establishments, convicts were not forced to wear “offender uniform.”
Zuma’s brother Michael’s funeral is scheduled for later Thursday in Nkandla, where Zuma is very popular.
According to local media, Zuma’s brother died at the age of 77 following a long illness.
Inmates in South Africa are normally permitted to attend the funerals of relatives, a privilege denied to the country’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, when incarcerated for opposing apartheid.
Despite Zuma’s request to have the case postponed owing to the pandemic and recent violence, the long-running corruption trial is set to resume on August 10.