Tight security at High Court in Pietermaritzburg ahead of Zuma, Downer matter

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Security is tight inside and outside the High Court in Pietermaritzburg ahead of former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution matter against Advocate Billy Downer and News24 Journalist, Karyn Maughan.

In October last year, Zuma opened a criminal complaint at the Pietermaritzburg police station against Downer for allegedly leaking his confidential medical records to Maughan.

In June this year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) gave Zuma a private prosecution certificate after it declined to prosecute Downer for allegedly leaking the former president’s medical records.

The court is expected to start by hearing Maughan’s application for an urgent interdict to stop Zuma from prosecuting her.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress provincial leadership is expected to be in court to show their solidarity with Zuma, with Provincial Chairperson Siboniso Nduma set to lead the delegation.

Speaking to SABC News outside the court, suspended ANC member and staunch Zuma supporter, Carl Niehaus, says the country’s legal system has been weaponised to attack Zuma.

What does private prosecution entail?

Meanwhile, legal expert Llewelyn Curlewis says the law provides for private prosecution of criminal cases to act as a safeguard against people taking matters into their own hands but only if the state decides not to prosecute a case.

In the podcast below, Curlewis unpacks what a private prosecution entails: