- Jacob Zuma has been admitted to hospital for a routine check-up.
- The former president is expected to appear in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg next week.
- The court appearance is for his plea hearing.
Imprisoned former president Jacob Zuma is not ill and has no intention of skipping his court appearance next week in his corruption trial, according to the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
On Friday, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said Zuma, who is serving a 15-month prison sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal for contempt of court, was admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation.
DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said that as a former president, the healthcare needs of Zuma require the involvement of the South African Military Health Services and added that this has been the case since his admission to the Estcourt Correctional Centre.
“A routine observation prompted that Mr Zuma be taken for in-hospitalisation,” he added.
Commenting on the development, Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said the former president was taken to hospital for his “normal annual medical check-up”.
“Whether in prison or not, he would have been due for that check-up,” Manyi added.
He said Zuma was not ill and added that the foundation would issue a statement once the check-up was completed and a medical report was received.
Manyi added that Zuma was looking forward to his court appearance in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday for his plea hearing.
He said the hospital admission was not a ploy aimed at missing the court appearance and added that Zuma could not afford to be sick because he had a lot to share in court.
“One of the reasons he is looking forward to this [is that] for all these years he has been rubbished as this corrupt person. Now the truth will be told,” Manyi said.
Manyi added that Zuma would make oral submissions at the High Court.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority has said it would monitor the situation until the court date.
The plea hearing was expected to be heard virtually, but Zuma’s legal team successfully argued that this would violate his right to a fair trial.
News24 previously reported that Judge Pete Koen issued a directive that stated that the matter would proceed in an open court.
In May this year, Zuma pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, including corruption, fraud, racketeering, and money laundering related to an arms deal.
After a protracted legal battle, Zuma is expected to answer to 16 charges relating to the 783 payments he allegedly received from his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, and a R500 000-a-year bribe that the State claims Shaik facilitated for him from French arms company Thales.
Thales is also on trial as Zuma’s co-accused.