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Citizen Reporter
Reporter
3 minute read
23 Aug 2021
3:42 pm

Zuma’s doctors fail to file medical report on fitness to stand trial

Citizen Reporter

The deadline to hand over the report, as directed by Pietermaritzburg High Court's Judge Piet Koen, was last Friday, 20 August.

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Thulani Mbele

Former president Jacob Zuma’s doctors have failed to file their report in time on the 79 year old’s fitness to stand trial for corruption.

“We can only confirm is that they missed the deadline to file the medical report and the court will deal with that,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga told The Citizen.

The deadline to hand over the report, as directed by Pietermaritzburg High Court’s Judge Piet Koen, was last Friday, 20 August.

Surgical procedure

The matter also comes after the Department of Correctional Services confirmed that Zuma had a surgical procedure last Saturday, having been initially hospitalised earlier this month for medical observation for an undisclosed illness.

The department indicated at the time the decision to take Zuma for in-hospitalisation was made after a “routine observation”.

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However, the military’s medical boss, Brigadier-General Dr Mcebisi Zukile Mdutywa, revealed in a letter that the former president suffered a “traumatic injury” in November last year.

Mdutywa, who leads the South African Military Health Service’s (SAMHS’s) presidential medical unit, detailed how Zuma needed to undergo “an extensive emergency procedure” and that it would take six months to treat the 79 year old.

Arms deal trial

The corruption trial, which involves Zuma and French arms company, Thales, is set to resume on 9-10 September after it was postponed by Koen due to the former president being in hospital.

The high court was expected to hear Zuma’s special plea for the recusal of senior NPA prosecutor, Billy Downer.

During the proceedings, Koen directed that a medical report – as well as Zuma’s doctors testifying in court – would be required when the case resumes.

Koen also indicated that the state was allowed to appoint a doctor to examine Zuma and ascertain his fitness to stand trial, which is yet to be appointed according to News24.

The publication also reported that the state had allowed Zuma’s doctors to file their report on the former president’s health status by 27 August.

Zuma has been serving a prison sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

He was slapped with a 15-month jail sentence when he was found guilty of contempt by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in June for failing to comply with the apex court’s ruling forcing him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

Recusal

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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