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Arthur Fraser admits he overruled parole board to free Zuma on medical grounds, but says he has the right to do so

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The outgoing director-general at the department of correctional services, Arthur Fraser. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

The outgoing director-general at the department of correctional services, Arthur Fraser, insisted that his decision that came into effect on Sunday was perfectly legal.

Durban – The outgoing director-general at the department of correctional services, Arthur Fraser, has admitted that he overruled the parole board to grant medical parole to former President Jacob Zuma.

Fraser insisted that his decision, which came into effect on Sunday, was perfectly legal and that he was ready to provide documentation to Parliament and to anyone who wants to know the process he followed.

Zuma, who was serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of the Constitutional Court at Estcourt prison since July 8 this year, was transferred to an outside hospital soon after his prison term began. The exact nature of his medical condition remains unknown.

Fraser has also insisted that his decision, which is now being challenged by the likes of the DA, Helen Suzman Foundation and Afriforum, would withstand any legal scrutiny that may arise.

Fraser made these disclosures on Wednesday during an interview with a local news channel where he was quizzed about several controversial issues where his name had popped up. He said the events leading up to his decision to override the institution tasked with considering whether prisoners had a valid reason to seek parole on medical grounds.

“They applied for medical parole… I think that is at the beginning of August where they applied and we were directed to the relevant structures, within our structure we got health care and then we got the medical advisory parole, so we directed that to them.

“So they allocated a doctor to go and do an observation as they do in all instances, they have done an observation and based on their engagement and assessment … on the patient, recommendations were made to the medical parole advisory board and those were made… the board did not approve the medical parole because they indicated that he was in a stable condition,” said Fraser.

“What I need to indicate is that when the advisory board provided those recommendations I had then, as the head of the centre, who has the authority to decide, then reviewed the information available and then indicated that the conditions, based on the reports that we have required us to release him (Zuma),” he said.

At some point Fraser was asked about his relationship with Zuma and he said he was not a Zuma man.

He pointed out that he was “the first person to be purged by the Zuma administration” in 2009 because they believed that he was a Thabo Mbeki man. At that time he worked for the State Security Agency.

Fraser also categorically denied that he was behind the leaking of the so called spy tapes that forced the then acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, to drop the arms deal corruption charges against Zuma.

The charges were later reinstated after the DA fought a long court battle, arguing that the decision was irrational.

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