Zuma reportedly left the country for Cuba last week to seek medical attention in the island state. This was in spite of his knowledge of the need to appear in court on Tuesday.
In issuing the warrant, Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay said it was important that the matter was treated in the same manner as in any other criminal proceeding.
The warrant of arrest stays until 6 May 2020.
Responding to the development, Zuma’s legal team said they would not be challenging the warrant of arrest issued for their client.
Lawyer Dan Mantsha, however, expressed concern about the court’s decision to issue the warrant when he spoke to the press outside the court.
“As I indicated to the court, the medical doctor in question has offered to explain to the judge what the situation is with the former president,” Mantsha said without explaining the nature of his client’s illness.
Zuma and co-accused French arms manufacturer Thales are facing multiple charges, including corruption, money laundering, and racketeering.
The charges relate to 780 questionable payments totalling US$2 billion in connection with a controversial arms deal in the 1990s.