Pretoria - The South African Human Rights Commission has appealed for calm and peace in the country. This follows the court nullifying the decision on the Department of Correctional Services’ granting medical parole to former president Jacob Zuma.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, rescinded the decision last week, and ordered that Zuma return to the department’s facilities to serve the rest of his sentence, amid threats of violence from Zuma's supporters.
Parts of the country, mostly KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, fell into chaos in July, sparked by the arrest of Zuma imposed by the Constitutional Court, after he refused to testify before the State Capture commission.
Widespread looting took place during the unrest, leaving scores dead and others arrested for the violence.
The chapter nine institution spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said “The SAHRC has noted the decision of the North Gauteng High Court nullifying and setting aside the decision of the head of the Department of Correctional Services to grant medical parole to former President Jacob Zuma, and ordering the latter to return to Correctional Services to serve the remainder of the sentence that had been imposed on him by the Constitutional Court.
“The commission also notes that social media is already abuzz with statements that have the potential to inflame the situation in the country. Some statements have been made on public news media which can have the same effect.
“The commission recalls that such media statements did in fact inflame the situation in June/July 2021, and led to the July unrest that took many innocent lives and resulted in large scale destruction of property, in addition to violations of other human rights of many people in the country. The commission is in the process of investigating that July unrest.”
Brooks said the commission was calling for calm, and appealed to all the people of South Africa to continue being law-abiding members of society, and to ensure that their actions and statements contributed to nation building and social harmony.
“Do not heighten tensions and lead to further destruction and violation of people’s rights.
“The Commission also calls upon the Security Cluster to note the developments, including the evolving social media discourse about the recent High Court decision, and to do their best to prevent the repeat of the July 2021 experiences.”
Brooks added that the former president,(Zuma), like any other citizen, had the right to take the recent decision of the High Court on appeal or review for a different set of judges to look at and pronounce on the soundness and validity thereof.
“Let us all be calm and exercise restraint, and allow judicial processes to unfold. The South African Human Rights Commission has full confidence in the judiciary of this country, and is confident that judicial decisions will always be corrected whenever they are found wanting.
“It, of course, may not, and makes no pronouncement on the current decision, especially as age old procedures already exist for testing the validity of judicial decisions," Brooks said.