Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay on Tuesday issued a warrant of arrest against former South African President Jacob Zuma in an effort to force him to appear in court.

The warrant of arrest was issued after Zuma failed to appear in court where he has to answer to allegations of corruption related to the purchase of arms deal in 1999.

Zuma’s legal team cited his illness for the non-appearance and presented a sick note from a military doctor.

Judge Pillay questioned the validity of the sick document, saying there was no proof that it was from a military hospital.

“It is not clear that ZK Moteni who signed the document is indeed a registered medical practitioner,” he said.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) lead prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer said Zuma would have to explain why he failed to appear in court when the trial resumes on May 6. The court would expect him to present evidence that he was sick and if he failed to do so, he might be criminally charged.

Downer said in January that he contacted Zuma’s legal team to get details on his sickness but never received any cooperation.

The same reason was given when the embattled former president failed to appear at the state capture inquiry which investigates corruption last month.

Zuma faces 16 charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering all relating to the arms deals purchased by the state 20 years ago. He has long denied the charges claiming that he was used as a scapegoat. Enditem

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