Five things you need to know about Jacob Zuma's contentious sick note

The head of former president Jacob Zuma's legal team, Daniel Mantsha, and former ANC provincial chairperson Super Zuma outside the Pietermaritzburg high court on Tuesday.
The head of former president Jacob Zuma's legal team, Daniel Mantsha, and former ANC provincial chairperson Super Zuma outside the Pietermaritzburg high court on Tuesday.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former president Jacob Zuma's legal team handed over a medical certificate to prove to the Pietermaritzburg high court that the former president was absent from proceedings as he was unwell.

However, the court found that the sick note “raised more questions”. Here's a list of some of them:

  • The medical certificate was a standard form issued by a military hospital. The court heard that military doctors took care of Zuma's health because he was a former president.
  • The date on the medical certificate was altered to January 6. Zuma's legal team could not adequately explain the alteration. On January 15, Zuma's legal team sent the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) a letter informing the state that Zuma would not be in court as he was receiving medical treatment in Cuba.
  • The term “layman's diagnosis” is used in the document. Judge Dhaya Pillay and Zuma's instructing attorney, Daniel Mantsha, agreed that they did not know what it meant. Pillay said it was “puzzling”.
  • The note is signed by a Dr ZK Motene. Judge Pillay raised concerns that there was no indication on the note that Motene was a registered doctor. Mantsha argued that a number after Motene's name could have been his practice number.
  • The sick note did not reveal Zuma's medical condition. Under medical condition it stated: medical condition.

The Jacob G Zuma Foundation issued a statement on Monday saying Zuma would not be in court on Tuesday “due to treatment he is receiving from his medical team”.

Meanwhile, Mantsha said he is disappointed that the court doubted Zuma's medical certificate.

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