Jacob Zuma prepares to grill state advocate Billy Downer

Former president Jacob Zuma will pursue private prosecution of advocate Billy Downer, the Jacob G Zuma Foundation confirmed on Wednesday, saying it welcomes the issuance of the nolle prosequi certificate by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

However, the foundation said it still is not impressed with the delays in granting the certificate.

Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said: “The foundation welcomes the ultimate issuance of the nolle prosequi certificate by the National Prosecuting Authority confirming their decision taken on 5 April 2022 not to prosecute Mr Billy Downer for the criminal contravention of section 41(6) read with section 41(7) of the NPA Act 32 of 1998.

“This decision was officially communicated to president Zuma on the 8th of April 2022, just a few days before the court hearing in PMB HC [Pietermaritzburg High Court], which took place on the 11th of April 2022.”

Nolle prosequi certificate in the matter of Zuma and Downer

Manyi said the “malicious” timing of the decision to decline prosecution was the first sign of “shenanigans by the NPA aimed at creating an artificial innocence of Downer just before the commencement of the court proceedings”.

“It remains a mystery why the NPA took more than two months to furnish president Zuma with the one-sentence certificate after several demands and threats of litigation to compel national director of public prosecutions advocate Batohi to produce this certificate.”

He likened the delay to the abuse of office and resources and said Batohi knew that Zuma could not proceed with private prosecution without the certificate.

“We hope that the unnecessary delays were not an early indication of a planned NPA Stalingrad approach to these serious criminal charges that will again be blamed on president Zuma.”

Manyi added the prosecution would have to be instituted within three months after the date of the certificate, which expires on September 6, and assured that it would be instituted long before the expiry date.

“We wish to assure the public that the prosecution will be instituted long before that date as the legal team had already started all the preparatory work. The draft charge sheet is ready,” said Manyi, adding that the foundation is looking forward to see Downer and his two accomplices in the dock to answer for their alleged criminal conduct.

“In the meantime, we call on Batohi to do the right thing and remove Mr Downer, who will soon be known as accused number one, from the current proceedings in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, so that the matter may finally get under way without avoidable delays.”

In May, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) said it would hear an appeal on the release of Zuma from prison on medical parole. The SCA, which would hear the appeal on August 15, ordered that the appellants’ heads of argument be filed on June 1 and July 1, respectively.

In September 2021, former correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser resolved to release the former statesman on medical parole, but Gauteng High Court judge Elias Matojane ruled in December 2021 that Fraser’s decision was unlawful.

Matojane ordered that the former president returns to jail to serve the remainder of his 15-month sentence levied by the Constitutional Court.

Zuma was arrested in July 2021 for being in contempt of court after he was found guilty by the apex court of failing to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

Zuma’s arms deal and corruption trial has seen many delays since its commencement on April 11, the case has now been postponed to August 15 as the former statesman awaits the outcome of his reconsideration application from the SCA.

Zuma asked SCA’s Judge President Mandisa Maya to reconsider his application for leave to appeal after the high court’s dismissal of his special plea. In the special plea, he asked for the recusal of lead prosecutor Downer, whom he accuses of leaking his medical records.

However, the high court found that the application did not have a reasonable prospect of success. Maya is yet to make a decision.

Meanwhile, another security threat is brewing in KwaZulu-Natal leading up to Zuma’s court appearance in August, when the SCA is expected to hear the appeal against his early release from prison.

His supporters are regrouping and have vowed to unleash chaos should Zuma be sent back to prison. The taxi industry in KwaZulu-Natal, amabutho (amaZulu regiments), and ANC regions sympathetic to Zuma’s legal woes are believed to be at the centre of the plan.

Also read: Supporters warn of chaos if Zuma is sent back to prison

Zuma, Thales corruption trial postponed to August

To read more political news and views, click here.

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.

Latest News