Wednesday, October 20, 2021
HomeSouth Africa'Second-guessing Zuma’s medical doctors unconstitutional’ — JGZ Foundation

'Second-guessing Zuma’s medical doctors unconstitutional’ — JGZ Foundation

The Jacob G Zuma Foundation has questioned the state’s decision to appoint a doctor to ascertain whether the former president is fit to stand trial for corruption, reports The Citizen.

Speaking on eNCA, the foundation’s spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, said the appointment of a medical professional by the NPA to assess Zuma was unconstitutional. “We remained concerned with the situation that is happening now, where the NPA has already appointed their doctor to supervise the other doctors of the SA Military Hospital.

“In our view we think that this whole thing by the NPA is actually is a violation of the Constitution. Section 41 of the Constitution … requires state organs to co-operate with each other. For the NPA to be second-guessing another state organ, in our view, is an unconstitutional conduct,” he said.

This comes after Zuma’s doctors missed the 20 August deadline to file their report on the 79-year-old’s health status ahead of his corruption trial. The High Court had directed that a medical report – as well as Zuma’s doctors testifying in court – would be required when the case resumes on 9 September.

Their failure to hand over their report, and their reasons for doing do, has been rejected by the state, reports News24 legal writer Karyn Maughan.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga confirmed the doctors had asked to file their report on Zuma's state of health and its implications for his trial on 27 August, but says the state “did not agree to this”.

“We also reject their reasons for not filing their report,” he said, before adding that this dispute would be need to be addressed by presiding Judge Piet Koen.

The medical report is expected to be confidential, as it will specify details about his health. Advocate Dali Mpofu stated during the previous virtual hearing of Zuma's corruption case that it would only be after the former president's doctors had compiled their report on his health that his lawyers would make a decision on whether to seek a longer postponement of his trial. If such a postponement is sought, Zuma's doctors – as well as the doctors appointed by the state to examine him – will be expected to testify and be cross-examined.

Zuma was hospitalised while serving a 15-month jail term for defying a Constitutional Court ruling that he appear before the State Capture Inquiry. The apex court has yet to rule on Zuma's application for a rescission of that judgment, after asking the parties in the case to make submissions on the implications of international law on its majority decision to jail him.

The Department of Correctional Services has confirmed that Zuma “… underwent a surgical procedure on Saturday, 14 August, with other procedures scheduled for the coming days”. As a result, it said, it was “… unable to predict a discharge date as our priority at this stage”.

Brigadier-General Dr Mcebisi Zukile Mdutywa, of the SA Military Health Service, has previously told the NPA and the Department of Correctional Services that Zuma needed extensive emergency treatment “that would require at least six months of care”, adds News24. Mdutywa wrote to the NPA in KZN to inform it that Zuma had been admitted to hospital “… as a result of his condition that needed an extensive emergency procedure that has been delayed for 18 months due to compounding legal matters and recent incarceration and cannot be delayed any further as it carries a significant risk to his life”.

 

The Citizen article – https://www.citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/2597180/jacob-zuma-foundation-mzwanele-manyi-npa-24-august-2021/ (Open access)

 

News24 article – NPA rejects Zuma doctors' reasons for missing deadline to hand over report on fitness to stand trial (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Prison authorities: More surgery for Zuma; hospital discharge date unknown

 

Zuma’s ‘ life-threatening emergency’ again spotlights the weaponising of medical testimony

 

When a sick note leads to an arrest warrant

 

HPCSA 'must investigate' doctors who backed Schabir Shaik's medical parole

 

 

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