Dali Mpofu says the NPA are 'vultures' for seeking to physically examine Zuma

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  • Jacob Zuma's corruption case is back in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.  
  • Zuma, who was not in court on Tuesday, argues that Billy Downer lacks title to prosecute him.
  • His advocate, Dali Mpofu, accused NPA doctors of being "vultures". 

Former president Jacob Zuma's advocate, Dali Mpofu, has accused the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of being "vultures".

He says they sought to conduct a physical examination on Zuma, even before his own doctors had completed a medical report.

Mpofu also accused the NPA of "harassment" for demanding to examine the former president.

"It was just undue harassment," he said.

"It was common cause on all sides (parties) that a medical report would be released by a treating doctor and, depending on its contents, then there may arise a right for a physical examination. We know that, before the report was received, the vultures of the NPA were hovering and seeking to conduct a physical examination of the first accused. For what?" Mpofu said.

READ | Zuma to take ConCourt battle to African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights

"This issue is not just privacy, but it also has national security implications because we are talking about a former head of state here, so you can't have people... unknown people, wanting to go and examine the former head of state. We don't know who they are, we have asked for their CVs, we were not given their CVs."

Zuma's lawyers are currently arguing in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg for a "special plea" application made under section 106 (1) (h) of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Zuma was not in court during proceedings.

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Former president Jacob Zuma with his lawyer advocate Dali Mpofu during a media briefing in Nkandla earlier this year.

Mpofu argued that they were in court to seek an order that "this prosecutor (Billy Downer) lacks title (to prosecute) and, following from that, the accused person should be acquitted".

The former president has accused Downer of turning his criminal case into "a personal legacy project of his own".

Zuma wants Downer removed from the corruption case, saying he doesn't have a "lawful title" to prosecute him.

READ| Zuma 'ill-advised' to go to African court over ConCourt battle - legal expert

The former president also accused Downer of lacking the independence and impartiality to conduct the case lawfully.

The NPA previously pointed out that the courts had already conclusively found that an application for the removal of a prosecutor on the basis of bias or an apprehension of bias could not be conflated with a challenge to the prosecutor's "title" to prosecute – which was often raised when non-State advocates are briefed to pursue private prosecutions.

The courts had also previously found that "title" referred to whether the prosecutor appearing in court had the necessary delegation to prosecute.

Downer, who has served as a State advocate for decades, clearly has that delegation and title.On this basis alone, Zuma's "special plea" must fail, Downer had previously argued in papers.

In May, Zuma pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, including corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering, News24 reported.

The former president faces 16 charges relating to 783 payments he allegedly received from his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, as well as a R500 000-a-year bribe that the State says Shaik facilitated for him from French arms company, Thales.

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