South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has called for calm following the North Gauteng High Court’s judgment sending former President Jacob Zuma, currently out on medical parole, back to prison.
In a ruling on Wednesday, the High Court in Pretoria annulled the decision of Department of Correctional Services chief Arthur Frazer to grant former President Medical Parole, declaring it was arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Zuma was ordered to serve the remainder of his 15-month prison sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court.
The SAHRC calls for calm and urges South Africans to continue obeying the law, ensuring their actions and statements do not heighten tensions, leading to further destruction, death, and human violations.
The SAHRC recalls the civil unrest that ripped through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July and led to 350 deaths. In addition to looted malls and burned businesses, many people lost their jobs.
Let us all remain calm, exercise restraint, and allow the judicial process to unfold, “said the Commission.
In a statement, the Commission reminded the public that the former president, like any other citizen, has the right to appeal or take the recent decision of the High Court to another set of judges to evaluate and determine if it is well-founded and valid.
“We also note that social media is already abuzz with statements that could inflame the situation in the country. Some statements have been made in mainstream media, which can have the same effect,”said the Commission.
Through his Twitter account, Zuma enthusiast Carl Niehaus called for the North Gauteng High Court’s judgment to send the ex-president back to jail to be rejected with the contempt it deserved.
According to Niehaus, Zuma is the victim of an atrocious, unjust, and vindictive ruling.
Niehaus said the judge threw away her scales and removed her blindfold before she plunged her sword through Zuma.
“Zuma suffers gross injustice at the hands of an unjust system that should not have imprisoned him,” said Niehaus.
Niehaus said the judge’s decision was personal and vindictive, adding that Msholozi lost all his cases and that it was a sad day for justice.
According to the Commission, such media statements contributed to the July unrest, which culminated in the deaths of dozens of innocent people, and large-scale property destruction, along with other violations of human rights.
“The Commission also urges the Security Cluster to pay attention to recent developments, including the escalating social media dialogue about the recent High Court decision, and to take every precaution to prevent a repeat of the July 2021 unrest.”
The Commission said it maintains full confidence in the judiciary, saying it will correct its decisions whenever they are found incorrect.