Jacob Zuma

South African court cancels Jacob Zuma's arrest warrant

Nomsa Maseko

BBC News, Johannesburg

Former South African president Jacob Zuma appears at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 23 June 2020.
EPA

The High Court in Pietermaritzburg has cancelled an arrest warrant against South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma after his lawyer handed in a doctor's letter confirming his ill-health.

The arrest warrant was issued in February after Mr Zuma failed to appear in court for a hearing.

His legal team had said the former president had gone to Cuba for a medical procedure, but the court was not satisfied with the explanation.

Pre-trial proceedings began on Tuesday regarding the corruption trial in which Mr Zuma is accused of receiving bribes from French arms company Thales 20 years ago.

The hearing has now been postponed to September.

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Embattled Jacob Zuma takes aim in rifle photo

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma has caused a stir after tweeting a photo of himself aiming a rifle a day after a court issued a warrant for his arrest.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court issued the warrant on Tuesday after Mr Zuma missed a scheduled court appearance.

His lawyer said he could not attend court as he was ill and presented a sick note - which the prosecution contested, arguing that the date seemed to have been altered.

The warrant, granted by Judge Dhaya Pillay, will only come into effect if the court determines that Mr Zuma gave false evidence about his health or fails to appear in court on 6 May.

The photo Mr Zuma shared, showing him holding a rifle whilst on a quad bike, it is not dated or captioned.

Local media say the photo was taken in Mr Zuma's rural home of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Mr Zuma has been charged with a string of crimes including corruption, racketeering and money-laundering. He denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

South Africans online have reacted to the photo on Mr Zuma's Twitter account.

"But the letter you submitted in court said you too sick to attend court ngapha you hunting, or you hunting sick notes," wrote Umalambane.

"This picture could have been taken today, yesterday, last year, two years back, three years ago nobody knows.There's no date, no caption, nothing. Pres Zuma is a great strategist, true military man & intellect who is always one step ahead & knows how to keep the enemy guessing& frustrated," Theblackprotector tweeted.

"Aren't you supposed to be on your sick bed in some hospital somewhere in Cuba or Pretoria military? Talk about a troll tweet of the decade," Zandi Thabethe wrote.

Court issues warrant of arrest for Zuma

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Jacob Zuma
AFP

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has issued a warrant of arrest for South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma after be missed a scheduled court appearance.

Mr Zuma, who has been charged with a string of crimes including corruption, racketeering and money-laundering was expected at the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday but was not present due to bad-health, according to his lawyers.

State lawyer Billy Downer, while arguing for the warrant, said the court would need to satisfy itself about Mr Zuma’s medical condition through an inquiry.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) argued that his “sick-note” was inadmissible because the date on it seemed to have been altered.

The warrant, granted by Judge Dhaya Pillay will only come into effect if the court determines that Mr Zuma gave false evidence about his health or fails to appear in court on 6 May.

Mr Zuma has been charged with corruption linked to a 1990s arms deal.

The arms deal took place in 1999, the year Mr Zuma moved from being a provincial minister to deputy president.

He is accused of accepting 783 illegal payments from French arms company Thales through his former financial adviser Shabir Shaik who was convicted in relation to the same crimes.

Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing.