WATCH | Zuma’s private prosecution of Ramaphosa hits another hurdle

Former statesman Jacob Zuma’s ongoing private prosecution of President Cyril Ramaphosa has hit another delay, with the case now postponed until August.

Zuma appeared before the Johannesburg High Court alongside his legal counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu, his daughter Duduzile, and members of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party.

The former president is accusing his successor of complicity in his private prosecution of state advocate, Billy Downer, and journalist Karyn Maughn, whom he alleges unlawfully leaked his medical records.

Opposing affidavit

Mpofu informed the court of the latest developments, stating that Ramaphosa’s legal team had filed an opposing affidavit in response to an application for reconsideration in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

This necessitates a reply, leading to the postponement of the case.

“The latest status of the matter is that on the 4th of April, the counsel for Mr Ramaphosa filed an answering affidavit opposing the application for reconsideration in terms of Section 17[2] F in the SCA, which means we are now due to do a reply,” Mpofu told the court.

“The implications of this are that the matter will have to be postponed once again. The reason why is unlike a criminal matter, where you can withdraw charges and reinstate them.

“In terms of Section 11 of the Criminal Procedure Act, if the private prosecutor does not appear on a set date, the matter is permanently dismissed, and therefore the arrangement we have had with this court … is that we will have these.

“As a result, to avoid coming [to court] every month, we have traditionally agreed on a longer-than-normal postponement … so that it allows for the appeals to be finalised.”

This delay follows previous legal battles where the Johannesburg High Court ruled that Zuma’s prosecution had ulterior motives.

Unlawful and unconstitutional

In July 2023, the SCA declared Zuma’s private prosecution of Ramaphosa unlawful and unconstitutional, setting it aside and ordering the dismissal of the case with costs.

However, Zuma pursued appeals, leading to the ongoing private prosecution attempt.

Recently, Zuma unsuccessfully attempted to remove Downer, whom he accused of bias in his arms deal corruption case, which is heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

This case has been adjourned for a pre-trial hearing in May.

Despite Zuma’s unfruitful pursuit to prosecute his successor, the Electoral Court recently ruled in his favour, deeming him eligible to contest the upcoming May election.

As a result, he has been listed as the first presidential candidate of the MK Party.


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