WATCH: Dan Mantsha lashes out at NPA for 'persecuting' Zuma with warrant of arrest
Durban - The lawyer of former President Jacob Zuma, Advocate Dan Mantsha, has lashed out at the State's prosecuting team for “persecuting” and victimising the ex-leader of the country.
A visibly upset Mantsha, speaking to the media shortly after his failed but spirited attempt to thwart a plea for a warrant of arrest against Zuma, said it was disappointing that a court questioned a letter from a military hospital, another arm of the state.
The letter in question was presented by Mantsha to court to show that Zuma was sick. After a legal showdown, presiding Judge Dhaya Pillay, admitted that Zuma may be sick but there must be undisputed evidence to support that. She did not accept the medical letter from the state Military Hospital in Pretoria which treated Zuma on two occasions in December last year.
In the end, Pillay issued the warrant of arrest as requested by Advocate Billy Downer of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The warrant will not be enforced immediately as it will wait for the next court appearance on May 6, 2020.
The granting of the warrant of arrest irked Mantsha so much that he said this was not about the administration of justice.
“Of course he is being persecuted, he is being persecuted, he is being victimised. It is not about the administration of justice, it is not about securing him to come to court. This is persecution, this is victimisation by the prosecution team,” a visibly disappointed Mantsha said.
He later said judges are human beings too and they err both in law and others. As a result, he said the whole legal team of Zuma will meet to look at the matter and decide the next course of action.
Explaining the warrant of arrest to Independent Media shortly after their victory, Downer said it does not mean that Zuma will be detained immediately.
“He will have to come to court in May to explain why he did not show up,” he said, adding that they will look at the medical records if he presents them as his evidence to show why he was not in court.
Downer warned that if there is no evidence, Zuma may be criminally charged for failing to show up as expected.
Zuma was not present in court where he is facing graft charges emanating from the multi-billion arms deal of the late 1990s. He is charged with French arms company, Thales, which is accused of bribing him to gain an upper hand over their competitors.