Sick Note: Zuma’s Rights Trampled Says Foundation

The Jacob Zuma Foundation says it is “greatly disturbed by the callous and insensitive manner” the patron’s health problems have been reported.

Former president Jacob Zuma is serving a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.

However, at the weekend the 79-year-old was taken to a hospital outside the prison after a routine medical checkup.

He remains in hospital and was unable to attend a scheduled court hearing on Tuesday.

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft, and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, and patrol boats.

He is jointly charged with Thales, the French company.

Allegations are that Thales paid bribes of half a million rand at a time to Zuma, to ensure their part in any dodgy deals would be swept under the carpet.

On Tuesday, Judge Piet Koen, who was hearing the matter virtually, postponed the matter to 9 and 10 September 2021.

He also directed that Zuma’s doctor should render the former president’s medical report to the court by no later than 20 August.

Earlier Zuma’s lawyer Advocate Dali Mpofu told the high court in Pietermaritzburg that the doctor’s letter was not detailed because the exact nature of the former president’s illness remained confidential.

Patient confidentiality is enshrined in law.

The National Health Act 2003 makes it an offence to disclose patients’ information without their consent, except in certain circumstances.

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“The hospital letter which was so freely and deliberately circulated at a mass level, locally and internationally, is clearly and repeatedly marked as confidential,” said the foundation.

The foundation said it has accordingly instructed its legal team to take all the necessary steps to protect “the grossly violated right of president Zuma”.

The foundation added: “This will include but not be limited to reporting the culprits to their institutions of accountability and/or initiating the appropriate civil or criminal proceedings”.

The court on Tuesday heard that Zuma was in need of an urgent procedure for a condition that had festered for the last 18 months.

“It cannot be that private and state agencies, in the pursuit of profit and hatred targeted at an individual, can be allowed to trample upon the most basic human rights of our patron in the manner witnessed,” complained the foundation.