While rumours are swirling that former president Jacob Zuma has refused to be examined by the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) doctors, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says it would be happy to foot the bill for a private, independent doctor to examine Zuma and his medical records.
The party said it was offering a “helping hand” to prevent the repeat of what had happened in the case of Schabir Shaik.
“The DA calls on Zuma to either cooperate with the state or to take up the DA’s offer,” the party said in a statement.
“As a former president and defendant in a high-profile corruption case involving public funds, Zuma’s medical status is of public interest. And the DA, as the official opposition, has a duty to ensure that the public is informed about Zuma’s condition, especially since his fitness to stand trial may be in question.
“Zuma’s medical records must not only be independently examined, but these records must be made public. The public deserves nothing short than full transparency.”
However, Jacob G Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi told The Citizen that reports of Zuma’s refusing to be examined by NPA-appointed doctors were “premature”.
“If the NPA issued a statement saying they were not happy with the [medical] report submitted [by Zuma’s legal team, then we are talking,” Manyi said.
“We have not crossed that bridge. Saying ‘refusal’ is way too premature. We have not gotten to the state where that attitude has been expressed.”
Manyi told News24 the state was “second guessing” the submitted report, and that the NPA should say if they feel the military doctors observing Zuma are being “dishonest”. He said the second guessing was only taking place because Zuma’s name was on the line.
The nature of Zuma’s mysterious illness and subsequent surgical procedure, has yet to be made public, but was confirmed by the Department of Correctional Services.
Previously, Zuma’s foundation slammed the former president’s health status being in the public eye, and said the NPA were “callous and insensitive” in handling the details of Zuma’s medical status. They said the documents detailing that Zuma had suffered a “traumatic injury” in November last year should never have been made public.
The corruption trial involving Zuma and French arms company Thales is set to resume on 9-10 September, after it was postponed due to the former president being in hospital.
Additional reporting by Nica Richards