South Africa’s Zuma hospitalised ahead of graft trial
South African ex-leader Jacob Zuma (Photo: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images).
SOUTH AFRICA’S ousted leader Jacob Zuma was admitted to hospital on Friday (6) ahead of his graft trial next week.
The former president is scheduled to attend the resumption of a long-running corruption trial on August 10.
Currently, Zuma, 79, is serving his 15-month jail term for failing to appear at the corruption inquiry led by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo in February. The commission is probing state corruption under his 2009-19 presidency.
His jail term started on July 8 at Estcourt prison, in the east of the country, which triggered riots in his home province on the following day.
The Department of Correctional Services “can confirm that former president Jacob Zuma has today, August 6 2021, been admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation”, it said in a statement.
The hearing will include a plea to drop 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering against him related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.
Zuma is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has also been charged with corruption and money laundering.
Legal proceedings against the ousted leader have been repeatedly postponed for more than a decade, sparking accusations of delaying tactics.
Zuma’s legal team had used a range of reasons to turn down invitations to testify, including alleged bias, preparations for the graft trial and medical concerns.
As per reports, he travelled to Cuba last year to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Meanwhile, no reason was given for his hospitalisation on Friday (6), apart from that it was prompted by “a routine observation”.
His imprisonment sparked a spree of violence, unrest and looting in his home KwaZulu-Natal province and the financial capital Johannesburg, which led to huge loss of property and lives.