Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
10 Aug 2021
10:34 am

Pietermaritzburg High Court postpones Zuma, Thales corruption trial

Citizen Reporter

This is after Zuma was admitted to a hospital outside the Estcourt Correctional Centre on Friday for medical observation.

Former president Jacob Zuma speaks to his supporters in Nkandla on 3 July 2021. Picture: Gallo Images/Die Burger/Lulama Zenzile

The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday granted former president Jacob Zuma a postponement in his arms deal corruption trial.

The corruption trial, which involves Zuma and French arms company, Thales, is set to resume on 9 and 10 September.

The high court was expected to hear Zuma’s special plea for the recusal of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor, Billy Downer.

Medical report

The postponement comes after Zuma’s counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu, as well as advocate Wim Trengove, who is representing the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Downer, agreed to have the trial postponed due to the former president being in hospital.

Mpofu informed Judge Piet Koen, who presided over the proceedings, the state and defence were in agreement that the trial should be postponed to September for an open court hearing.

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Koen, however, indicated that Zuma’s doctors will be required to testify and face cross-examination in court.

A medical report will also be required from the former president’s legal team, which must be provided to the state by 20 August.

The judge also ruled that the state are allowed to appoint a doctor to examine Zuma and ascertain his fitness to stand trial.

Zuma hospitalised

On Monday morning, the Jacob G Zuma Foundation said it confirmed with the Department of Correctional Services that Zuma, who was admitted to hospital last Friday for medical observation, was still in hospital. 

The foundation previously said there is no need to panic just yet after Zuma’s hospitalisation, saying the 79-year-old former statesman was admitted for his annual medical routine checkup.

However, it has been reported by News24 that a senior SANDF doctor has claimed that Zuma suffered a “traumatic injury” last year and needs to undergo “an extensive emergency procedure that has been delayed for 18 months”.

Recusal

During his last court appearance in May, Zuma pleaded not guilty, and his legal team filed a special plea application to have Downer recused from prosecuting the case.

Zuma’s legal team said Downer had smeared their client’s name and leaked information related to the corruption case to the media.

The former president wants to be acquitted of all charges should his application for Downer to recuse himself succeed.

The NPA has since denied the allegations made against Downer.

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