S/Africa: Zuma ‘too ill’ for trial – Lawyer

Former South African president Jacob Zuma's fraud and corruption trial has been postponed to 9 September in the Pietermaritzburg High…

Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s fraud and corruption trial has been postponed to 9 September in the Pietermaritzburg High Court because he is “too ill” to attend in person, the court heard on Tuesday.Judge Piet Koen heard the application for the postponement virtually after the former president was hospitalised last week at his Estcourt Correctional Centre. 

Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court after defying an order to testify before a panel probing high-level corruption during his tenure in office between 2008 and 2018. 

Zuma’s defence lawyer Dali Mpofu argued that the former president has been suffering for a long time but failed to get medical attention due to the numerous court appearances.

Due to this life threatening “medical emergency”, Zuma could take six months to be all right to appear before the court, Mpofu said, adding that he had consulted both his client and the doctor.

State prosecutor Wim Trengove requested that the State appoints a medical doctor of their own to examine whether Zuma was indeed fit to stand trial, and report back to the court for this purpose.

The State and the defence agreed that a medical report on the former president be submitted no later than 20 August.

Doctors from both sides would appear in court, either in person or virtually, to give evidence and be cross-examined for the purpose, court heard.

French arms company Thales is a co-accused in the trial. The case against Zuma and his co-accused first came before Koen in May this year.

Zuma is facing 16 counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering in connection with a multi-billion-dollar arms procuring deal with Thales.

Thales is facing four counts in the scandal. 

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