State doctors say Zuma fit to stand trial, court hears

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  • The lawyer representing the NPA said state doctors have found that former president Jacob Zuma is fit to stand trial. 
  • Zuma failed to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday. 
  • His lawyer objected to his client's medical records being handed over.  

The lawyer representing the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that state doctors have found that former president Jacob Zuma is fit to stand trial based on documents given to them.

Advocate Wim Trengove told the court that they had issued subpoenas on several witnesses for Zuma's medical records.

However, Zuma's lawyer - advocate Dali Mpofu SC - objected to his client's medical records being handed over. 

He said the former president, who failed to appear in court on Tuesday, had a right to confidentiality and privacy. He also added that Zuma was not seeking to postpone the matter based on medical grounds.

"We have the strongest objections to anybody handing out anything that has to do with the first accused, particularly when that issue is not before the court and may never be."

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Meanwhile, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, representing national prisons commissioner Arthur Fraser and two correctional services officials, said his clients were in court because they needed to respect the subpoenas.

But he said his clients needed to take advice:

We only met Fraser yesterday [Monday] and Mr [regional commissioner Kenneth] Mthombeni this morning [Tuesday].

Sikhakhane said his clients were also "anxious" because they were asked to produce documents related to someone's health without taking proper legal advice.

"They are quite anxious about being called this way with no proper legal advice. I need to give them proper advice about being here and whether it is proper for them to being here," he added.

However, Trengove told the court that the subpoenas were issued a week or two ago. He said Fraser and the other officials had time to seek legal advice.

Trengove said: "In fairness to them, we would be happy if you give them a week to launch an application to have the subpoenas set aside."

He said there was no justification for their failure to honour the subpoenas.

Judge Piet Koen agreed to excuse Fraser and the other correctional services officials.

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