Zuma wins first round as court rules against handing over medical records

Pietermartzburg – The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) frantic bid to force former president Jacob Zuma to hand over his medical records in order to back up his claims that he is sick and unable to personally come to court failed.

This took place on Tuesday morning in the Pietermaritzburg High Court where Zuma’s application to have advocate Billy Downer SC recused is being argued and counter-argued.

Citing ill health, Zuma was not physically present in court, prompting advocate Wim Trengove SC, who is representing the NPA, to lead evidence on the extent of Zuma’s ailment.

It later emerged in court that the NPA had subpoenaed information from the Department of Correctional Services which recently granted Zuma medical parole, citing ill health.

Among other information that was to be presented was some from the military health services.

However, it later emerged that the military doctors protested the summons from the NPA, saying it was premature as the parties were exchanging information about the Zuma’s sicknesses.

It also emerged that the NPA may have ethically applied pressure on the Department of Correctional services to release the medical information that correctional services boss Arthur Fraser relied on to free Zuma on medical parole.

Zuma’s lead lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, told Judge Piet Koen that the request for such information was prejudicial to Zuma as his parole was being challenged in court by a host of parties like the DA, AfriForum and the Helen Suzman Foundation.

Earlier, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who was representing Fraser and the Correctional Services Department raised concerns that the NPA allegedly bullied departmental officials to write affidavits without having proper legal advice.

In the end, after fierce arguments, Judge Koen ruled that the NPA’s request to have Zuma’s medical record handed over was premature. The case then proceeded to why Zuma feels Downer must be removed as the lead prosecutor of his arms deal trial.

Speaking from the court, the spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, said the NPA’s attempt to have Zuma’s medical record handed to court was justice against a conniving NPA.

He said the arguments in court showed that the NPA was engaged in behind-the-scenes attempts to ensure that, by hook or crook, it got Zuma’s medical records. – IOL