Court issues arrest warrant for Zuma, suspended until May

Cheryl Sanders
February 4, 2020

The warrant, granted by Judge Dhaya Pillay will only come into effect if the court determines that Mr Zuma gave false evidence about his health or fails to appear in court on 6 May.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has issued a warrant of arrest for South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma after be missed a scheduled court appearance. Downer also said that if Zuma chose to speak of his illness in closed proceedings, the state would not object.

Jacob Zuma failed to appear in court today claiming he is undergoing medical treatment overseas.

The prosecutor in the trial, Billy Downer, said the hospital document was mere "hearsay" that proved nothing.

Jacob Zuma sick note

It was at the request of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who are now taking a tough stance on Zuma's continued failure to appear before court in the arms deal case that the court granted the warrant of arrest.

"We are very concerned when courts issue warrants under the circumstances like this when the whole country knows that president Zuma is not well. indeed president Zuma underwent two operations in early January this year", Mantsha said.

Zuma is facing 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering relating to the arms deal.

Zuma is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand ($270,000) related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president.


Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing.

A court late past year dismissed Zuma's attempt to appeal a ruling in October that cleared the way for him to be prosecuted.

While making her ruling, the judge indicated she had other similar matters where warrants were routinely issued for non-appearance by accused persons and that Mr Zuma had to be treated like every other citizen.

"It is absurd for the State to doubt admissibility of the medical note stamped by our own military official", said Zuma's attorney.


The charges were thrown out by prosecutors almost a decade ago in a contentious decision that opened the way for Zuma to become president.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance hailed the warrant decision, saying the court "has put its foot down and shown Mr Zuma that he can no longer continue wasting the court's time and public resources because he is too afraid to face the music".


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