A South African court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Jacob Zuma after he did not appear at a pre-trial hearing in a corruption case on grounds of needing medical treatment.

The judge, however, stayed the warrant until the case resumes on May 6.

Zuma’s lawyers on Tuesday informed the court that he was ill and receiving treatment abroad, but the judge questioned whether the note was valid.

Late last year, a court dismissed Zuma’s attempt to appeal a ruling that cleared the way for him to be prosecuted over an arms deal with French defence firm Thales dating back to before he took office in 2009.

Zuma denies charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering related to the controversial 1999 arms deal. He has alleged his case was prejudiced by lengthy delays in bringing the matter to trial. He has also alleged political interference.

Thales also denies the charges.

The charges were first brought in 2005. They were dropped by prosecutors in 2009, before Zuma became president, and reinstated in 2016.

Zuma resigned in 2018 under pressure from the ruling African National Congress.


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