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#FreeZumaCampaign to challenge NPA being allowed to get a second opinion on former president’s medical report

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Former president Jacob Zuma File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

The #FreeJacobZuma campaign is opposed to the National Prosecuting Authority being allowed to appoint a civilian doctor “of their choice” to question the medical report of the senior Army doctor who examined ex-president Jacob Zuma.

Cape Town – The #FreeJacobZuma campaign is opposed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) being allowed to appoint a civilian doctor “of their choice” to question the medical report of the senior Army doctor who examined ex-president Jacob Zuma.

’’For the NPA to appoint an ordinary civilian doctor to question, and ‘second guess’, the medical report of a senior Army doctor is unheard of and highly irregular.

’’This is tantamount to allowing an ordinary civilian to challenge an important arm of the State, namely the Army, which is part of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF),’’ the #FreeJacobZuma campaign said in a statement on Saturday.

’’No self-respecting government will allow this to happen. Yet, this outrage is being allowed, because of the irrational hate for President Zuma by some of those who currently find themselves in positions of power in government.

’’It is abuse of the highest order, and a continuation of the undermining and hollowing out of State institutions for partisan and narrow factional political purposes.’’

The #FreeJacobZuma campaign has instructed its attorneys ’’to urgently investigate what legal steps can be taken against journalists and media houses that make themselves guilty of such despicable conduct’’.

’’We will also approach the High Court in Pietermaritzburg to oppose the NPA from being allowed to proceed with the highly irregular step to bring in a civilian doctor to second guess the medical report of a senior Army doctor. We have no doubt if this is allowed to happen, the human rights and privacy of President Zuma will even be further compromised and trampled on.’’

Details of Zuma’s health were revealed in court papers on Tuesday. In the papers, the military doctor said Zuma suffered a ’’traumatic injury’’ late last year and needed ’’extensive emergency treatment’’ and six months of care to restore his health.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation slammed the NPA and the media over the ’’callous and insensitive’’ handling of details of the former president’s health.

Zuma’s corruption case has been adjourned until September 9 because of his ill health, which required his hospitalisation outside the Estcourt Correctional Centre. Zuma, 79, was admitted to hospital last week Friday.

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Piet Koen allowed Zuma’s doctors the opportunity to compile a medical report on his condition, for which surgery has been postponed for more than 18 months, according to the affidavit.

The medical report must be made available to the NPA by August 20. Judge Koen ordered. The NPA will then be allowed to appoint its own medical expert to examine Zuma.

Should Zuma be declared fit, the matter will resume on September 9. He is serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court over his refusal to abide by subpoenas to make a further appearance at the Zondo commission into state capture.

The #FreeJacobZuma campaign further said: ’’Once again it boils down to a situation where there is a special application of the law, and the deliberate and callous undermining of established norms and practices, in order to specifically target President Zuma.

’’This has gone far too far and the #FreeJacobZuma campaign, and indeed every fair minded, conscientious and patriotic South African, should put our collective foot down and not allow this to go any further…

’’It is every citizen’s right to have privacy, and not to allow his/her personal medical condition and private health records to be made public, and questioned, by every Tom, Dick and Harry…

’’By allowing the NPA to question (actually challenge!) the medical report of a senior Army doctor, this is exactly what the court is doing, is illegal. Abusing the law, and trampling on it by those who are supposed to uphold it, and defend our rights, has evidently now become the norm with regards to the continuing outrageous abuse of President Zuma.

’’This is the kind of stuff that was synonymous with the apartheid regime’s abuse of the human rights of detainees, who were incarcerated without trial. It only confirms our contention that President Zuma is the first political prisoner since 1994, who is in apartheid-like style illegally detained without a trial.

’’All of this is a disgraceful continuation of the manner in which President Zuma had been treated for years by our courts, as well as by the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

’’Overall, the #FreeJacobZuma campaign continues to demand the immediate release of President Zuma, and we will continue to fight with all the legal and peaceful means at our disposal to protect President Zuma’s human rights from being abused.’’

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