Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
7 Sep 2021
12:31 pm

Zuma’s special-plea hearing to be postponed, NPA to consider medical report

Thapelo Lekabe

Zuma is arguing that Downer lacks independence and impartiality to prosecute the corruption trial.

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Gallo Images/Volksblad/Mlungisi Louw

Former president Jacob Zuma’s special-plea hearing to remove the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) prosecutor, Billy Downer, from the arms deal corruption case will be postponed.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga on Tuesday told The Citizen the case would be heard virtually on Thursday by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. He said it will be postponed to be heard virtually from 20-21 September after all parties agreed to the postponement.

This will be to enable a state-appointed medical team of specialists, in cooperation with Zuma’s medical team, to consider his medical evidence.

It emerged last week that Zuma refused to be examined by the NPA’s appointed doctors after his corruption case was postponed due to his admission to a military hospital in August for an undisclosed medical illness.

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Mhaga said in a brief statement: “In view of the medical reports being confidential, no further comment will be issued as all issues relating thereto will be ventilated in court at the next hearing.”

Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales are on trial over the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal. The former president is facing multiple counts including fraud‚ corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

Thales, which has been accused of bribing Zuma, faces four counts.

In May earlier this year, Zuma’s legal team filed his affidavit requesting the Pietermaritzburg High Court to recuse Downer from prosecuting the case. Zuma is arguing that Downer lacks independence and impartiality to prosecute the corruption trial.

On 27 August, Zuma’s doctors submitted his medical report on his fitness to stand trial after missing the high court’s deadline by seven days. 

The Department of Correctional Services on Sunday announced that Zuma was granted medical parole after it received two medical reports on his health condition.

The former president was incarcerated in July at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal for 15 months for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court.

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