Former South African President Jacob Zuma has regained his freedom following the expiration of his prison term for contempt of court.
The country’s government official disclosed this in a statement on Friday, October 7.
Correctional services said he had been released from their system having served only part of his term behind bars.
“It is a day of mixed emotions,”Zuma said in a statement on Friday, thanking his supporters for speaking out against what he said was an “unjust and cruel incarceration.”
“I am relieved to be free again to walk around and do whatever I want to do without restrictions.”
He compared his release to the day in 1973 when he walked out of Robben Island prison, where he had been jailed as an apartheid-era political prisoner with Nelson Mandela.
The former Head of State was jailed for 15 months for contempt of court in July last year after refusing to testify before a graft inquiry.
He surrendered himself to South African authorities on July 7, 2021, to begin his jail term causing the worst violence the country had experienced in years as his disgruntled supporters flooded the streets.
However, he was released on medical parole in September 2021 – two months later.
The 80-year-old was granted parole after being admitted to the hospital for an undisclosed condition.
But in December 2021, the high court set aside the parole decision and ordered him to return to jail.
Zuma appealed the judgment and remained on parole pending the appeal outcome.
“All administrative processes have now been conducted and the sentence expiry date marks the end of him serving his sentence,” the Department of Correctional Services said in a statement today.