Dispute over Jacob Zuma’s medical note forces another postponement of arms deal trial
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Durban - The dispute between the legal team of former president Jacob Zuma and the State over whether the medical note from the military health services is enough to back up his claim that he is sick, has thrown another spanner in the works.
This is as the National Prosecuting Authority on Tuesday announced that the previously scheduled court hearing set down for Thursday and Friday this week would be postponed by consent of all parties involved.
In a brief statement, Mthunzi Mhaga, the spokesperson for the NPA, said the postponement would allow their doctors to consider the note presented by Zuma.
“We confirm that the special plea hearing relating to Mr Zuma's case will be postponed virtually, by consent of all the parties, to 20 and 21 September, to enable the State-appointed medical team of specialists to consider the medical evidence in co-operation with Mr Zuma’s medical team.
“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,” Mhaga said.
Last week, the spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, said the sick note from the military health services, an arm of the State, was enough, and should not be questioned by the NPA.
Manyi said the matter was ready for the court and if the NPA was not convinced, it must argue that matter before the Pietermaritzburg High Court, where Judge Piet Koen issued the order when the matter was heard last month.
The case is related to the arms deal corruption trial, where Zuma is accused of pocketing millions in bribes.
When it was supposed to start, Zuma applied to have the lead prosecutor in the matter, advocate Billy Downer SC, recuse himself, arguing he had compromised himself by leaking information to the media, sharing sensitive details about the case with CIA spies, among other accusations.
However, Zuma fell sick and the matter had to be postponed, hence he is arguing that the note from the military doctors is enough to prove his claim.