Former president Jacob Zuma has been granted compassionate leave by the department of correctional services to attend his brother Michael’s funeral at Nkandla.
The former head of state is understood to have already left the prison where he is being held for his family’s homestead at Nxamalala village, close to the Zululand town of Nkandla, where his younger brother will be buried.
According to a source in the department, Zuma is being escorted by teams from the department’s security division, who were activated for the “exercise’’ as early as last Sunday.
The source said that additional security was likely to be provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in light of the wave of violence that swept KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng last week in the wake of Zuma’s arrest and incarceration.
Despite this, the department was not expecting “any difficulty” regarding the funeral.
Michael Zuma, who acted as the family spokesperson during his brother’s presidency, died on Sunday following a long illness.
Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo early on Thursday confirmed that 79-year-old Zuma had been granted a day’s compassionate leave in terms of Section 44(1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act “in order to attend to a family bereavement”.
Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court over his refusal to abide by a series of summonses to return to the Zondo Commission into state capture to face questions about his role in the looting of government departments and state-owned entities by the Gupta family.
The former head of state is being held at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.
Nxumalo said that Zuma had been granted a single day’s leave for the funeral and would not be required to wear prison uniform while outside the correctional facility.
“As a short-term, low-risk classified inmate, Mr Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved following correctional services prescripts,” Nxumalo said.
The leave would last for one day only, Nxumalo said.