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Zuma’s case postponed to 9 September, State may appoint doctor to establish fitness to stand trial

  • Former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial has been postponed to 9 September. 
  • Zuma, who is serving a 15-month jail sentence, was hospitalised last week.
  • High Court Judge Piet Koen has directed the State to appoint its own doctor to examine Zuma to establish his fitness to stand trial.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial has been postponed to 9 September to establish his fitness to stand trial.

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg granted the postponement on Tuesday morning. Zuma was admitted to hospital last week.

He was incarcerated at the Estcourt Correctional Centre last month to serve a 15-month jail term for defying a Constitutional Court ruling that he appear before the State Capture Inquiry.

READ | SANDF medical boss: Zuma’s life is at ‘significant risk’, will take 6 months to treat him

Judge Piet Koen of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court said doctors treating Zuma should provide a medical report by 20 August. He also directed the State to appoint a doctor of its choice to examine the former president, and if necessary for the doctor to give evidence as to his fitness to attend court or stand trial.

zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma.

During the virtual proceedings, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, for Zuma, said the postponement was by agreement with the parties.

He also said he did not “anticipate that the medical report will take longer than a week to produce”.

‘Completely in the dark’

Mpofu said at the very latest, the report would be available at the end of August.

But advocate Wim Trengove SC, for the State, requested that the report be produced by 20 August.

He added that they were “at the moment completely in the dark” as to the justification for the postponement.

Trengove said the doctor’s letter did not identify the medical condition from which Zuma suffered. He asked the court to direct that the State appoint its own doctor to examine Zuma to establish his fitness to stand trial.

Zuma’s lawyers were scheduled to begin arguing his application for a “special plea” in the arms deal-linked corruption case against him.

They were also due to argue that the former president should be acquitted of all charges because the entire National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was too biased to prosecute him, News24 earlier reported.

In May, Zuma pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, including corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering, News24 reported.

The former president faces 16 charges relating to 783 payments he allegedly received from his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, as well as a R500 000-a-year bribe the State said Shaik facilitated for him from French arms company Thales.

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