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From court no-show to ANC well wishes — a timeline of Jacob Zuma’s latest health struggles

16 August 2021 - 14:00 By cebelihle bhengu
Jacob Zuma recently underwent surgery in a hospital outside the Estcourt Correctional Centre. File photo.
Jacob Zuma recently underwent surgery in a hospital outside the Estcourt Correctional Centre. File photo.
Image: Rogan Ward

The department of correctional services is unable to confirm when former president Jacob Zuma will return to the Estcourt Correctional Centre as he is scheduled to undergo more medical procedures in the coming days. 

The department revealed a week ago that Zuma was out of the facility after he had been hospitalised.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation said on Sunday it was inundated with “messages of love and support from across our borders” for the wellbeing of the former president.

Here’s a timeline of his latest health struggles: 

August 6: Out of correctional services

One month after the former president started serving his 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court, correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Zuma had been admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation.

His foundation said his hospitalisation should not cause alarm because it was for an annual routine medical check-up. 

August 10: No court appearance due to ill health

A high court case involving Zuma and the Thales Group was postponed to September 9 and 10 on medical grounds. Judge Piet Koen from the Pietermaritzburg high court granted the postponement last Tuesday. 

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga told TimesLIVE Zuma’s legal team planned to apply for a postponement. 

August 12: Prayer service

Zuma’s family members and ANC colleagues gathered at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal to pray for his speedy recovery.

ANC Women’s League provincial secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela said they had met with the Zuma family, including his first wife, Sizakele MaKhumalo Zuma.

Gabela told TimesLIVE MaKhumalo Zuma told police to bring back the former president “alive an in one piece” on the night of his arrest.

She said the former first lady opened up about the difficulties she faced over the years with Zuma during the struggle and during his tenure as president

August 15: Zuma undergoes surgery

Correctional services said on Sunday Zuma had undergone a surgical procedure with other procedures expected to follow “in the coming days.” It did not reveal his condition and said it is not possible to predict his discharge date.

The department urged the public not to speculate on his condition and committed to providing the former president with the best healthcare possible. 

August 15: ANC wishes Zuma well

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe urged South Africans to keep Zuma in their thoughts and prayers after his surgical procedure.

“The ANC urges its members and the people of SA to keep comrade Zuma in their thoughts and prayers during this time, and wish him a speedy recovery.”