The family of Carl Schoombie, 27, who was beaten to death in November 2015 in Cape Town, has started a petition to oppose a request by one of the murderers that he be granted medical parole.
Sentenced to life in 2017 for his part in the murder, 41-year-old Juane Jacobs applied for medical parole four years into his life sentence.
“As a family, we are shocked and dismayed by this development, especially knowing that Juane showed no remorse or sympathy during the murder case and trial,” writes Schoombie’s sister, Jade Southwood, in her petition plea.
According to Southwood, the petition, which had more than 20 000 signatures by Thursday, 7 October, would support the family’s submission to the medical parole board opposing parole for Jacobs.
The news of Jacobs’s application for medical parole was brought to the attention of Schoombie’s family following an emotional video compiled by GroundUp comparing medical parole submissions with that of former president Jacob Zuma, who was granted medical parole two months into his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.
Southwood describes the video as “creating a dramatised plea including videos, in search of sympathy for Juane and to justify medical parole”.
The video solely focuses on Jacobs’ example out of 52 inmates at Leeuwkop prison who applied for medical parole between the start of this year and August. While 22 submissions were dismissed, 16 were recommended.
The video shows the crowded prison cells and Jacobs’ desperate need for proper hospitalisation, given his “poor quality of life” in prison.
Jacobs’ mother, Juliette Salie, told GroundUp that her son was diagnosed with renal failure, and alleged that he had suffered two heart attacks, a stroke, and was HIV-positive before receiving his sentence.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) responded to the video in September, saying that in terms of the Correctional Services Act, the medical parole board “acts according to prescribed powers and will only release those prisoners who qualify and not release those who do not”.
The NPA also voiced its concern about Jacobs’s family, saying the family was “wrongly and publicly issuing statements that Jacobs without question qualifies for medical parole, when this is still a matter for the medical parole board to decide according to strict criteria, including possibly the prisoner’s danger to society and this is causing the Schoombie family unnecessary and unfair anguish”.
Schoombie was severely beaten by Jacobs and Brent Henry, 44, on 15 November 2015 in a case described as one of mistaken identity. He sustained a massive brain injury and died four days later in hospital.
Both Jacobs and Henry were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017. The Western Cape High Court dismissed both their appeals for lesser sentences in 2020.
Southwood says her family hopes that the petition will “bring change and justice not only to Carl’s case, but all murder cases where medical parole is seen as an escape from justice”.