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Zuma 'walking, talking, breathing & laughing' as he prepares for hospital release

Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said Zuma is “putting on a brave face”.
Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said Zuma is “putting on a brave face”. 
Image: Duduzile Zuma/Twitter

“He is walking, talking, breathing and laughing.”

This is how Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi described the former president's demeanour while awaiting his release from hospital. 

Zuma was admitted to a military hospital for medical treatment in August, shortly after  he began serving his 15-month jail term at Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt of court.  

His undisclosed illness saw him granted medical parole by the department of correctional services and he will complete the rest of his sentence in a “system of community corrections”.

Speaking on Jacaranda FM on Wednesday, Manyi said Zuma is “unwell” but remains positive. 

He said while in hospital Zuma is “putting on a brave face”. 

“He’s a good man so when he sees people, he smiles like a typical grandfather that in the face of adversity must still put on a brave face,” said Manyi.

“But the man is not 100% well and the exact nature and all of those things, as you know, we cannot divulge. But he’s walking, he’s talking, he’s breathing, he’s laughing.” 

Zuma is expected to return to his Nkandla homestead in the coming days, but his foundation said his discharge from the hospital will be not be announced, citing security reasons. 

“The foundation wishes to advise that due to security reasons, the discharge of [former] president Zuma from the hospital will not be announced. At the right time, subject to correctional services conditions, further announcements will be made,” it said

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Zuma's older brother Joseph said the former president could be home before the long weekend. 

“I was told to wait for this week to pass and then he will be home. That is what they said to me, but we are still going to confirm,” said Joseph.

Last week, Manyi told TimesLIVE Zuma's release from prison meant he “can be with family and sleep in his own bed". 

“The development means that the man who has been incarcerated without trial and denied the right to appeal his verdict is now given an opportunity to be with his family, though under conditions. 

“This is a light at the end of a tunnel. At least he can be with family, sleep in his own bed and wake up and see his grandchildren,” said Manyi.