Johannesburg, Aug 15 (EFE).- South Africa’s imprisoned former president Jacob Zuma has undergone a surgical operation and will remain in hospital with more operations planned, prison authorities said Sunday.
Zuma, serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, was transferred from prison to a hospital on August 6 and had his corruption trial once again delayed but this time on health grounds.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court last week set September 9 and 10 as the new dates for the trial, which may be subject to change after Sunday’s announcement.
“As a result, DCS (Department of Correctional Services) is unable to predict a discharge date as our priority at this stage is for Mr. Zuma to be afforded the best care possible,” said the department’s spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, according to local media.
Zuma’s medical team told the prison and the prosecutor’s office that the 79-year-old suffered a traumatic injury last year and now needs “extensive emergency treatment” for at least six months.
He has been convicted for contempt of court by the country’s Constitutional Court for repeatedly refusing to appear in court to testify before an official commission investigating alleged cases of corruption during his presidency (2009-2018).
After his imprisonment, several days of deadly riots and mass looting spread across South Africa which, although they began in the form of protests in support of the former president, later degenerated into mob violence, spurred by the country’s serious socio-economic problems.
Zuma is the first former democratic-era South African president to be imprisoned since the end of the segregationist apartheid system (1994).
He also stands accused of corruption, money laundering and fraud in connection to an arms deal worth billions with French company Thales in the late 1990s, charges he denies. EFE