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Zuma’s private prosecution bid is postponed

by Zahid Jadwat

Former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution case against incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa has been postponed to May 26. Zuma was at the Johannesburg High Court on Thursday morning.

Ramaphosa did not appear in court as an accused on Thursday morning as the same court granted an urgent interdict in his favour.

Zuma is charging Ramaphosa for allegedly being an accessory after the fact in his case against State prosecutor Adv. Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan. He accused the duo of leaking confidential medical records in the protracted arms deal case.

Monday’s ruling interdicted Zuma from continuing with his private prosecution, pending the outcome of a review application. However, the case still went ahead on Thursday.


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Review application and the private prosecution

Ramaphosa has sought to challenge the legitimacy of the private prosecution case that was announced on the eve of the African National Congress (ANC)’s elective conference last month. He was seeking reelection at the Nasrec conference.

The private prosecution matter case was on Thursday postponed to May 26, to allow for Ramaphosa’s review application to be heard on 17 and 18 May.

“Zuma wants to proceed with the private prosecution and he must now convince the presiding judge sitting on the bench that there might be a reasonable possibility that a judgement will be granted in his favour come mid-May, when Part B of the original urgent application by Ramaphosa is further deliberated and considered by the full bench,” said legal expert Dr Llewlyn Curlewis.

Curlewis explained further that the outcome of the review application would determine whether there was any merit to the private prosecution.

“Part B [the review application] deals with the question relating to the contents of the nolle prosequi certificate; whether it is a legal document, whether it complies with requirements in law and whether there are any specific elements that should have been there that have not been there. Adding to that, [it will determine] whether there is any merit in a possible prosecution against Ramaphosa,” he said.

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