State wants arrest warrant issued for Jacob Zuma for skipping hearing

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 4, 2020


Durban – Senior state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer told the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday that the State was seeking a warrant of arrest for former president Jacob Zuma.

Downer made the request because Zuma had not submitted a medical certificate nor let the State know what the alleged illness was that kept him from proceedings on Tuesday.

Downer said the State had been made aware of the former president’s absence from Tuesday’s hearing in good time, but follow-up correspondence to his lawyer Daniel Mantsha regarding a medical certificate and the nature of Zuma’s illness had received no response.

Downer said the warrant could be issued but the actual arrest left pending until the court had undertaken an investigation into Zuma’s absence.

“Zuma’s absence is disappointing, we want Mr Mantsha to tell us what the illness is and why Zuma can’t be here. It is a criminal offence for the accused not to be present if he has been warned in court. The court would have to enquire into reasons for his absence,” said Downer. 

He asked that the warrant be issued at the end of Tuesday’s proceedings. Downer also said that if Zuma chose to speak of his illness in closed proceedings, the State would not object.

Former president Jacob Zuma's legal representatives and state prosecutors in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday. Zuma failed to attend the hearing due to an undisclosed illness. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Mantsha countered that Zuma's illness was a matter of "state security" and the purvey of military doctors.

Zuma was also not able to appear before a sitting of the commission of inquiry into state capture last year because of illness. He has been seeking treatment outside the country.

The matter continues.

African News Agenc/ANA

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