Former president Jacob Zuma's plan to ditch court backfires – Angry Judge issues warrant of arrest

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THE SICK note provided by former president Jacob Zuma’s medical doctor in support of him being too sick for court this week, does not meet the ethical standards laid down in the Health Professions Act.

This was confirmed by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), and the organisation provided three glaring flaws to substantiate their opinion.

The HPCSA is a statutory body that regulates the conduct and practice of doctors and health workers, including their education, training and registration to practice, in accordance with the Act.

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Zuma was due to appear at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, before Judge Dhaya Pillay.

The note was issued by Dr Zakes Kagiso Motene, who is attached to the South African Defence Force military hospital.

The Department of Defence refused to be drawn into Zuma’s sick note saga.

Siphiwe Dlamini, spokesperson for the department, said they were not in a position to comment on a matter that was before court.

“Let us leave the court to deliberate and reach its conclusion. Please allow that space for the court,” said Dlamini.

On receiving the note from Zuma’s legal team, Judge Pillay questioned its genuineness and was not satisfied that it justified his court no-show.

Judge Pillay picked specifically on the alterations to the date on the document and that it bore no information that indicated the doctor’s certification.

She adjourned the matter, not before issuing a warrant for Zuma’s arrest, which was suspended until May 6, the day the former president is required to explain his illness in court.

Priscilla Sekhonyana, HPCSA’S spokesperson, said the certificate issued and referred to as South African Medical Health Service (SAMHS) Prescription and Duty Restriction Form did not meet some of the requirements of Ethical Rule 16 of the Act. Sekhonyana highlighted that: *The practitioner’s (Motene) qualifications and registration number was not recorded.

*The date on which the certificate was issued is not recorded.

*The certificate did not indicate whether it was issued as a result of personal observation by Motene during an examination, or as a result of information received from the patient and was based on acceptable medical grounds.

There were suggestions in some quarters that the Zondo Commission handlers were too lenient when Zuma failed to honour his appointment, which was set down for January 27 to 31, and he also cited medical reasons for his absence.

Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela, communications head for the commission, responded: “No sick note was handed, but Mr Zuma offered to ask the leader of his medical team to meet with the chairperson (Judge Raymond Zondo) and share information about his health situation with the chairperson on a confidential basis.”

Zuma’s lawyer, Daniel Mantasha, expressed his dissatisfaction with Judge Pillay’s ruling after this week’s session in court.

During proceedings, he said his client had undergone two surgical procedures on January 7 and 9, but could not travel to Cuba on January 23, as planned, for more medical attention because of slow recovery.

Zuma went to Cuba on January 27.

-Sunday Tribune


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