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An arrest warrant was issued for former South African president Jacob Zuma today after he failed to appear in court to face corruption charges understands.

Zuma, who is accused of taking bribes from French defence company Thales in the 1990s, claims to be too ill and is said to be in Cuba having treatment.

The 77-year-old, who resigned from office in February 2018, has made several attempts to have the case permanently dropped claiming it is politically motivated. understands the National Prosecuting Authority requested the arrest warrant after Zuma failed to attend court and also demanded to see his medical records to back up his claims he is too sick.

State advocate Billy Downer told the Pietermaritzburg High Court that Zuma’s team has said he will be out of the country for treatment until mid-March, local media reported.

The warrant does not come into effect until the case resumes on May 6.

Zuma’s legal team asserted that the former president had two operations in early January before going abroad.

But the judge questioned a letter from a military hospital in the capital, Pretoria, explaining Zuma’s absence, noting it had no date.

Zuma, whose past court appearances were marked by defiant speeches and singing and dancing for crowds of supporters, has faded into the background as his legal challenges to the corruption charges have faltered.

A court late last year dismissed Zuma’s attempt to appeal a ruling in October that cleared the way for him to be prosecuted.

He is accused of receiving bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales through his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of fraud and corruption in 2005.

Zuma denies charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering related to the controversial 1999 arms deal when he was deputy president.


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