Zuma’s private prosecution case postponed to November

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The High Court in Pietermaritzburg has postponed former President Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution of state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan to 1st November.

This is because appeals are pending in connection with rulings in a civil court that the private prosecution is unlawful and is an abuse of a court process. Zuma has accused Downer of illegally leaking a confidential doctor’s letter to Maughan in the course of his corruption trial.

The JG Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi says issues about the validity of the private prosecution should have been dealt with in the criminal court.

“I think it was a complete waste of time. We could have carried on with the private prosecution here and whatever issues they were raising they could have raised them in this court,” he says.

The court previously granted an urgent order that Downer and Maughan had brought – that Zuma’s private prosecution be halted. Zuma’s advocate Dali Mpofu has argued that they would exercise their right to an automatic appeal. This means approaching the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in terms of the legislation under which the order was granted.

The court found that Downer and Maughan has satisfied the legal requirement of showing that they would suffer irreparable harm if this was to happen.

In Downer’s case, he will be facing another application for his recusal in Zuma’s corruption case later this month for alleged bias. In June the court found that Zuma’s private prosecution is an effort to bolster changes to have Downer recused.

In Maughan’s case, the court found that she would have been deprived of her freedom of movement, while the abuse on social media posed a threat to her safety, her legal team argued.

VIDEO: Judge Nkosinathi Chili to chart a way forward in Zuma’s private prosecution case