JZ ‘treated in Cuba’

2020-02-07 15:58
Former president Jacob Zuma testifying at the Commission of inquiry into state capture. (Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24)

Former president Jacob Zuma testifying at the Commission of inquiry into state capture. (Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24)

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As speculation about former President Jacob Zuma’s whereabouts grows, sources close to him have revealed that he is currently receiving treatment in Cuba.

According to the sources, Zuma left for Cuba shortly after being admitted to a Durban hospital late last month.

“When his condition deteriorated, a decision was made that he should go back to Cuba for further treatment. He is currently in Cuba,” a source close to Zuma said.

Zuma initially flew to Cuba towards the end of last year but returned to South Africa in December.

Speculations about the former president’s whereabouts gained momentum after a picture of him sitting next to a quad bike, while aiming a rifle, was tweeted from his account on Wednesday. However, Zuma’s son, Edward, later told ENCA that the picture was taken two years ago.

The picture, in which Zuma appears to be in high spirits, had social media in a spin on Wednesday evening as speculation around his health and whereabouts continued. It is not clear who tweeted the picture.

This follows controversy around a sick note Zuma’s legal team provided to Judge Dhaya Pillay, after Zuma failed to appear for his corruption case in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

In an interview with eNCA’s Xoli Mngambi, Edward said the picture of his father holding a gun was taken two years ago. He said he had bought his father the rifle to shoot birds.

In court on Tuesday, the state asked Pillay to issue an arrest warrant for Zuma after his legal team applied for him to be absent from proceedings in Pietermaritzburg, citing ill health. The warrant was issued, but stayed until May 6, when Zuma will be expected to appear.

Zuma’s legal team submitted documents to the court, saying the former president was ill and had not been in the country since January 23.

The decision to issue a warrant against Zuma resulted in Edward launching a stinging attack on the court

Labelling Judge Dhaya Pillay “biased”, Edward said the judge issued the warrant in order to please her “friend”, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

“It was a decision taken out of hatred for the man, it’s being vindictive, vicious and very much abuse of the judiciary for personal reasons (sic). This they do forgetting that the old wounds have not healed and we are gradually getting tired of them abusing the system. Our patience is running out as we can see what is happening. However, we don’t want to be tested as people,” he said.

Other Zuma backers also came out in his defence.

Mkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus tweeted that the court’s decision was unacceptable.

“The refusal by the high court to accept the medical certificate presented by the lawyers of [Zuma] and issue a warrant of arrest is very disappointing and disturbing. The pain and humiliation inflicted on Nxamalala is heartbreaking. We as a nation should hang our heads in shame,” he said.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in KwaZulu-Natal described the warrant as a direct attack on Zuma.

“The ANCYL will now embark on mobilising support for president Zuma. We will also mobilise society to stand up and defend president Zuma against the unwarranted attack on our hero.

“We need not remind anyone that former president Zuma is a hero of our liberation struggle who sacrificed his entire life for the hard-earned freedom of our country, and therefore remains a hero of the people of South Africa,” ANCYL provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said.

However, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) national task team co-ordinator Sibongile Besani has resigned after calling out the structure for releasing a similar statement in his name, but without consulting him.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  jacob zuma
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