top of page

UPDATE: South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma in hospital

South Africa's jailed former president, Jacob Zuma, was taken to hospital for medical observation on Friday, prison authorities said, days before he was due to appear in court for a corruption trial.

Picture: Emmanuel Croset/AFP

Picture file: Former South African President Jacob Zuma removes his glasses as he addresses the media at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal on 4 July 2021

Officials did not go into details on the condition of the 79-year-old, who is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court at Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Zuma's foundation said he was in hospital for a routine annual check-up. "No need to be alarmed, ... yet," it said in a tweet on Friday morning.

Mzwanele Manyi, the spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, told new reporters later in the afternoon the doctors were still seeing the former president and would advise him on whether he was fit to attend court on Tuesday.


Zuma was due to appear at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on charges of corruption related to a 1999 arms deal made with French company Thales next Tuesday. Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering. The arms manufacturer is also charged after allegations of paying a R4 million bribe to Zuma.

Zuma last month asked the Constitutional Court to annul his jail sentence, partly on the grounds that he was suffering from an unspecified medical condition. read more

He was jailed for defying a Constitutional Court order to give evidence at an inquiry investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in office until 2018.

When Zuma handed himself in on July 7, protests by his supporters escalated into riots involving looting and arson that President Cyril Ramaphosa described as an "insurrection". The looting has been said to be the worst of its kind.

Zuma, who was briefly allowable to leave jail on July 22 to attend the funeral of his younger brother, is due to appear in public again on Tuesday for an arms deal corruption trial.

In that case, he is accused of receiving kickbacks over a $2 billion arms deal from the 1990s. He pleaded not guilty in May to charges including corruption, fraud and money laundering. Zuma has said he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt. Efforts to put him on trial are seen as a test of South Africa's ability to hold powerful politicians to account.


bottom of page