State wants own medical team to examine former president Zuma

State wants own medical team to examine former president Zuma

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has heard the state wants its own medical practitioner to examine former president Jacob Zuma on his fitness to be present in court and stand trial.

Jacob Zuma Press Conference - AFP
Emmanuel Croset / AFP

State Advocate Wim Trengove told the court on Tuesday it was in the interest of justice.

"We are at the moment completely in the dark as to the justification for the postponement, more particularly Mr Zuma's condition.

"The doctor's letter doesn't identify the medical condition of which he suffers at all and says quite perplexingly that's it been a condition that has required extensive emergency procedures which have been delayed for 18 months.

"So this is a crisis which has dragged on for 18 months and we find it very hard to understand.”

Earlier, Judge Piet Koen granted a request by the defence for a postponement of the arms deal corruption matter to next month, due to the former president's hospitalisation.

READ: Zuma case postponed to determine fitness to stand trial

Zuma's special plea application which if granted could see State Prosecutor Billy Downer recuse himself was supposed to be heard in open court on Tuesday.

In the virtual sitting, Zuma's counsel, Advocate Dali Mpofu, furnished an affidavit from Zuma's doctors to support the request for the postponement.

He told the court they are ready for the special plea application to go ahead on the new dates.

"Obviously, the key to all this, my lord, is the medical report so that once the medical report comes out one of two things will happen.

"If it says there is no longer a problem then we continue as postponed. If it says there is a problem then of course, again one of two things will happen either the NPA will accept the report or they will seek to dispute it. If they seek to accept it then we will come back a have now short proceeding like this."

Judge Koen made the following order.

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"The matter is postponed to 9 and 10 September 2021. The medical report in respect of Mr Zuma is to be [delivered] by no later than 20 August 2021.

"It is directed that the state may appoint a medical practitioner of its choice to examine Mr Zuma to access his ability to stand trial."

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