Jacob Zuma special plea hearing in arms deal matter to be postponed

Former president Jacob Zuma’s special plea hearing to remove the state’s prosecutor in his arms deal matter will be postponed to allow a medical team appointed by the state to assess medical evidence.

The spokesperson of the national prosecuting authority (NPA) Mthunzi Mhaga confirmed that the special plea hearing will be postponed virtually.

“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 cooperation 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.

Zuma is seeking to remove state prosecutor Billy Downer in his corruption trial in which he is the co-accused with French arms manufacturer Thales.

Zuma is facing 16 counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering in his arms deal matter.

The former president was on Sunday placed on medical parole following an almost two months stint in the Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal, serving a 15 months sentence for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court.

The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed the decision to grant its former president medical parole, with its deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, saying on Tuesday that Zuma’s medical condition should not be politicized and his parole should not be compared to that of his former financial advisor Shabir Shaik, which she said had been seemingly wrong.

ALSO READ: ANC deputy SG Duarte says Zuma’s medical parole shouldn’t be compared to Shaik’s

Allegations in the arms deal matter include that R500 000 was paid to Zuma annually through Shaik so that the former president would protect Thales from investigations into the arms deal.

Meanwhile, Zuma’s foundation said he was expected to consult with his legal team on Tuesday while he remains in hospital.

ALSO READ: Duarte: ANC rejects accusation it influenced the IEC on decision to reopen candidate nomination

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