Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)

Jacob Zuma hearing postponed, Mpofu says there is progress over medical note dispute

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Sep 9, 2021

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Durban - The Jacob Zuma hearing, at which the former president was supposed to argue why the National Prosecuting Authority’s advocate Billy Downer SC should not lead his prosecution for alleged corruption in the multibillion arms deal, has been allocated new dates.

Initially, the matter was supposed to be moved to September 20 and 21 this year. However, in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday, Judge Piet Koen certified September 21 and 22 as the new agreed-upon dates.

Koen further allowed the NPA to file supplementary affidavits. That should be done by September 16.

If Zuma and his legal team wish to respond to the supplementary affidavits, they should do so by September 20.

“The order I grant is as follows: the matter is adjourned in the absence of the first accused (Zuma) and the representatives of the second accused to 10:00 on the 21st and 22nd of September 2021 in open court in Pietermaritzburg,” Judge Koen read part of the order during the virtual hearing that lasted for five or so minutes.

He said the new dates also allowed Zuma to apply for a further postponement and that he should provide all the necessary evidence to back up his claims.

Worth noting about the brief hearing was that Zuma’s lead lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, said there seemed to be progress on the dispute over the medical assessment of the former head of state by NPA doctors.

Mpofu said that if there was an agreement over the medical note issued and if they did not agree, it would be argued in court on the new dates.

Again, if the medical note issue was settled and Zuma was fit to appear in court, the new dates would be used to argue their case about why Downer should recuse himself.

The issue over the medical note came to the fore last week, when it emerged that Zuma and his lawyers refused to grant permission to independent doctors of the State to assess him and be satisfied that he is sick and not fit to come to court.

They argued that the military health services that had been treating Zuma since mid-August this year, after whisking him out of the Estcourt prison where he was serving his 15 months sentence for contempt of court, was a State organ and it should not be second guessed by another organ of the same State.

Furthermore, they told the NPA that if they were not convinced by the note from the health military services, the matter should be argued in court.

“There is an indication which was made to you (to Judge Koen) that the medical teams are finding each other or getting close to each other.

“Then we are left with same three options, namely: If they agree, well then, that’s the end of it, if they don’t then there will be viva voce evidence (evidence given by a witness orally) but if the health situation improves on Mr Zuma’s side, then the two dates will be used for the 106 (Zuma application to force Downer out),” Mpofu said.

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