South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma Hospitalized Ahead of Trial

Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa has been hospitalized ahead of graft trial. Jacob Zuma was jailed for contempt of court last month. The former president was admitted to an outside hospital, less than a week before he is due in court for a separate graft trial.

The Department of Correctional Services “can confirm that former president Jacob Zuma has today, 6 August 2021, been admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation,” it said in a statement.

The 79-year-old is scheduled to attend the resumption of a long-running corruption trial on August 10, 2021.

According to AFP, the hearing will include a plea to drop 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering against him related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

Zuma is accused of taking bribes from one of the five European firms, Thales, a French defence firm, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

The legal team of the former president had turned down invitations to testify in court, giving series of excuses including alleged bias, preparations for the graft trial and medical concerns. Last year, Zuma travelled to Cuba to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness.

Court Proceedings have been repeatedly postponed for more than a decade, sparking accusations of delaying tactics.

Other than charges related to the arms deal, in a separate case, the 79-year-old former president was handed a 15-month jail sentence in late June for contempt of court, probing state corruption under his tenure as president from 2009-2019.

On July 8, 2021, former president Zuma started his 15 months jail term at Estcourt prison, Eastern South Africa.

His imprisonment in late June sparked nationwide outrage and a spree of violence and looting in his home KwaZulu-Natal province and Johannesburg.

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