South Africa: Ex-President Zuma issued an arrest warrant

Jacob Zuma was president of South Africa from 2009 to 2018 [File: Reuters]

The former South African President, Jacob Zuma was issued an arrest warrant for no-show at a pre-trial hearing over corruption charges

The judge, however, stayed the warrant until the case resumes on May 6.

Zuma’s lawyer, Mantsha on Tuesday, presented the judge with a sick note from which he claimed was a military hospital, but Judge Dhaya Pillay questioned whether the note was valid, as there was no medical number showing if and where the doctor was certified.

“I don’t even know if … is a doctor. There is … nothing to suggest that he is,” she said, before issuing the warrant.

The former leader is on trial on 18 charges of racketeering, fraud, and money laundering relating to a $2bn arms deal with French defence firm Thales in 1999 when Zuma was deputy president. Zuma’s lawyer, Dan Mantsha claimed that he was abroad for medical treatment, without disclosing the location.

Pillay concluded that the note was insufficient to excuse Zuma from appearing for the trial, but gave him until it resumes on May 6 to turn up before the warrant kicks in.

Zuma, president from 2009-2018, had previously applied for a permanent stay of prosecution but the court in Pietermaritzburg threw out his appeal in November.

Zuma was accused of accepting $34,000 annually from Thales in 1999, in exchange for protection against any investigation of the company.

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