Former President Jacob Zuma. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)
- Police spokeswoman Colonel Athlenda Mathe says law enforcement is ready to respond to any eventuality after the Constitutional Court and SCA rulings on Monday.
- The SCA ruled that former President Jacob Zuma’s medical parole was granted illegally, while the Constitutional Court ruled that Janusz Walus was released on parole.
- Both rulings have received mixed responses from politicians. They have also raised fears about possible riots.
Police are on high alert for possible riots after Monday’s court rulings on former President Jacob Zuma and Chris Hani’s killer, Janusz Walus.
“The National Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has taken note of both sentences and remains on high alert to respond to any eventuality,” police spokeswoman Athlenda Mathe said.
The Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) ruled that former head of prison services, Arthur Fraser, illegally authorized Zuma’s release on medical parole in September last year.
Zuma had served just under two months of his 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Services facility.
He was arrested in July of last year for contempt of the Constitutional Court.
In a separate unanimous Constitutional Court ruling authored by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the high court ordered Walus to be granted parole.
Walus assassinated Hani, the popular leader of the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP), in 1993.
READ | Fury when Zondo orders Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus released within 10 days
The Polish immigrant has been in jail for almost 30 years. He became eligible for parole nearly 17 years ago after serving 13 years and four months of his life sentence.
Both rulings received mixed reactions from politicians and raised concerns about a possible resurgence of the riots that broke out last July after Zuma’s arrest.
Mathe said: “SAPS holiday season operations are in full swing with more troops on the ground to ensure greater police visibility. The safer holiday plan will see increased crime fighting operations and increased visibility to prevent, combat and investigate any related criminal incidents.”
He warned against inciting violence using social media platforms, saying doing so constituted a violation of the Cybercrime Act.
“Members of the public are urged not to spread inflammatory messages,” Mathe said.
Political leaders responding to the SCA ruling included Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Agency (SSA) Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa. They were speaking on the sidelines of a police visit in Bityi, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday.
READ | Jacob Zuma must go back to jail and prison bosses must ‘legally’ decide on his release: appeals court
Cele reflected on her encounters with Hani, saying that he had been “a special human being” and that South Africa was “so blessed” to have had him.
He said that while he accepted the court’s ruling, he believed that the majority of South Africans would oppose it.
It never crossed our minds or hearts that someone would one day be free when Chris is gone forever. One shouldn’t be seen as disrespectful of the structures of laws in this country, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t have an opinion. Is the law. We have to respect the law. Everyone feels that the nation has been let down.
Kodwa called for a review of the legislation to restore public confidence in the system.
“Laws are meant to protect the vulnerable, and if there is a sense in society that the criminal justice system and the laws are no longer protecting them, that can create social instability in the country. Therefore, we should not shy away from looking at the laws that should give people confidence. The perception now is that the laws of the country favor the criminals, not the victims,” Kodwa said.