Former president Jacob Zuma has fired another salvo in his bid to have prosecutor Billy Downer removed from his arms deal corruption case, accusing him of leaking a confidential document about his health and “unlawfully” sending a medical specialist, accompanied by a police officer, to examine him.

Zuma’s attorney Bethuel Thusini filed the affidavit ahead of Thursday’s virtual hearing before Pietermaritzburg high court judge Piet Koen, when the case against Zuma and French arms company Thales was adjourned again until later this month.

The state has been given until September 16 to file its response to the latest allegations.

Zuma wants Downer, and all National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) advocates, off the case, arguing they are biased.

His trial, when it eventually begins, will kick off with his “special plea” in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act during which Zuma has indicated he wishes to give oral evidence.

Thusini has made an application to admit further evidence during the hearing of the plea. He said this will show that Downer had more recently been implicated in further acts of “alleged serious misconduct” which supports Zuma’s bid for his disqualification from prosecuting him.

He said the court should take judicial notice of the fact that Zuma was released from custody on medical parole on September 5 because of his deteriorating health.

He, however, remains in a private specialist hospital until his doctors deem it medically appropriate to discharge him.

At the last hearing in August, his legal team presented a doctor’s report from Brig-Gen Dr Mcebisi Zukile Mdutywa from the defence department’s Military Health Services, which stated he was undergoing an extensive medical evaluation for an emergency procedure which carried a “significant risk to life”, and it could take six months before he is better.

Koen ordered, by consent, that Zuma’s legal team would file a more comprehensive report by August 20. Following that the state, if it wished to, could get its own experts on board and examine him.

However, the filing of the medical report was delayed by a week.


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