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Former South African President Jacob Zuma, who is facing fraud and corruption charges, sings after his appearance in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 26, 2021. — Reuters pic
Former South African President Jacob Zuma, who is facing fraud and corruption charges, sings after his appearance in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 26, 2021. — Reuters pic

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CAPE TOWN, Aug 15 — Jailed former South African president Jacob Zuma has undergone unspecified surgery and remains in hospital with more operations planned, prison authorities said today.

Zuma, serving a 15-month sentence in Estcourt prison for contempt of court, was sent to a hospital outside for observation on Aug. 6, days before the start of a corruption trial he has thus far avoided.

“Mr Zuma underwent a surgical procedure on Saturday, 14 August 2021, with other procedures scheduled for the coming days,” prison spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo said in a statement.

There was no word on a potential discharge date for Zuma, who in July asked the country’s top court to reverse his incarceration, saying it was unjust and might kill him if he catches Covid-19.

Last week, a high court postponed his corruption trial to Sept. 9 after his hospitalisation. It is unclear what medical condition ails Zuma and his legal team was ordered by the judge to produce a medical report by Aug. 20.

The prosecutors may appoint a doctor of their choice to assess whether Zuma is fit to stand trial.

Zuma, whose jailing last month ignited looting and unrest, faces charges with co-accused, French defence firm Thales , over a US$2 billion arms deal corruption case that led to his sacking as South Africa’s deputy president in 2005.

Zuma and Thales have denied the allegations. — Reuters

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