Zuma medical records dispute placed on ice
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CAPE TOWN - Former president Jacob Zuma on Tuesday scored a minor victory when arguments about making his medical records available to the presiding judge, to determine whether he is medically unfit to come to court, were temporarily put on the back burner.
Zuma’s lawyers were at the Pietermaritzburg High Court to fight for him on two fronts.
The first matter before Judge Piet Koen was whether Zuma was fit to come to court.
That was because a previous appearance had to be shelved because it was argued that he was not well enough to come to court.
In the second part of the case, after Judge Koen temporarily put the matter of the medical record aside, Zuma’s lead lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu SC and advocate Thabani Masuku SC took turns to try to convince the court why State advocate Billy Downer should recuse himself and not lead the prosecution of Zuma for his alleged arms deal corruption.
Mpofu insisted that Downer and the NPA had partly conceded that some information was leaked and the case was discussed with other parties outside formal structures.
He added that another matter that compromised Downer was that he had conceded that he shed tears when the then head of the NPA, Mokotedi Mpshe, decided to withdraw the charges against Zuma, based on the spy tapes.
Mpofu argued that Downer’s tears were beyond the professional call, but he has attached personal feelings to the case.
Masuku argued that Downer and the NPA were involved in a “constitutional scandal that should horrify any prosecutor” and allowing him to continue with the case would amount to feeding his personal power drive at the expense of violating the law.
Speaking outside the court, the spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, said the NPA’s failed attempt to have Zuma’s medical record handed to the court was justice.
Advocate Wim Trengove SC, representing the NPA, accused the Zuma team of distorting facts. Their arguments were “a rerun of old complaints that have failed in the past”.
“There is nothing new,” Trengove told the court.
The matter will resume today at 11am to allow Trengove to finish his arguments on behalf of the NPA.