Former President Jacob Zuma will face an arrest should he fail to appear in court when his corruption trial resumes in May.
This comes after the Pietermaritzburg High Court today issued a warrant of his arrested but suspended it until his next court appearance.
Zuma failed to provide sufficient proof for his failure to appear with the Judge Dhaya Pillay questioning the admissibility of the sick note he provided.
Zuma is facing charges of corruption and money laundering after he was accused of benefiting from the multi-billion Arms Deal. He is accused of allegedly receiving bribes from a French arms manufacturing company Thales.
The warrant will be executed at Zuma’s next scheduled court date, if he fails to appear.
“A warrant for accused 1 Mr Zuma is issued but stayed until 6 May 2020, the date on which the matter will resume,” Judge Pillay ruled on Tuesday.
She said that his lawyers had not given the court sufficient proof that Zuma was indeed ill and therefore was unable to appear.
Pillay said that as much as the court can accept that Zuma was ill, there was no proof that could guide the court.
Judge Pillay questioned the medical certificate that Zuma’s lawyer provided to the court saying that there was no date on the stamp, the form provided along with the certificate had its date altered and there was no proof that the person who signed it off was a registered medical practitioner.
“Now in this regard, what goes out in the public domain, in the media and what is exchanged between counsel, is not evidence. What this court requires is evidence. Some authentic reliable proof that Mr Zuma is indeed ill and when he will be available to stand trial,” Judge Pillay said.
She added that she had recently issued a warrant of arrest for someone who failed to appear in court because the court has a duty to ensure that everyone received the same treatment.
“The comparison that the community will make is how does the court treat Mr Zuma in relation to everyone else.”
“So it’s standard practice in this court and in every court hearing a criminal trial that if an accused is not in attendance, if an accused has failed to produce a medical certificate… without that evidence this court cannot do anything else but issue a warrant of arrest,” Judge Pillay said.