Former president Jacob Zuma has returned to the Estcourt prison to resume his 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
This after he was granted compassionate leave to attend his younger brother’s funeral in Nkandla on Thursday.
Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said: “He is safely back in custody.”
Zuma’s younger brother Michael died after a long illness a few days after Zuma started his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.
In a statement on Thursday morning, Nxumalo said the permission was granted under section 44 (1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act.
Zuma, who is classified as a “short-term low-risk inmate”, was seen in pictured wearing a white fedora hat and a formal blazer.
While the funeral service took place under heavy police presence, the Zuma family expressed gratitude to the state for allowing the former president to pay his last respects to Michael.
Zuma’s brother Khanya, 77, told TimesLIVE that the family was delighted to see Msholozi.
“He arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning and I got a chance to speak to him at the funeral. He was his usual jovial Gedleyihlekisa, but he was hiding the hurt. He has always been like that. He does not show that he is in pain,” said Khanya.
Khanya said his brother told him: “Ngiyabuya khona manje Zuma.”
This translates to “I am coming back soon, my brother”.
When there is a funeral, the men in the family usually wake up at 4am to dig the grave to prepare for the burial, said Khanya.
However, this time, “we used a TLB machine”.
“Then we slaughtered a cow because we were burying the head of the family. When we were burying, men wearing full personal protective equipment were the ones who did everything,” he said.
Zuma’s wives — including Sizakele MaKhumalo-Zuma, Nompumelelo MaNtuli-Zuma and ex-wife and mother of his children, Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — were in attendance. It was only Tobeka Madiba-Zuma who did not attend, Khanya said.
The family will begin a three-month mourning period.
“We are hoping he will come back to do the cleansing ceremony,” said Khanya.