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Zuma’s private prosecution bid against Ramaphosa on ice yet again

Zuma’s private prosecution bid against Ramaphosa on ice yet again
Former president Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photos: Leila Dougan)

Following the postponement of former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution bid against President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2023, the matter was back in the Johannesburg High Court on Thursday morning, only to be postponed again to 6 August 2024.

Zuma’s legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, told the court:

“In this matter, which is a private prosecution in terms of section 7, what we have been doing because there are appeals in respect following a review appeal in this court which is being appealed in the SCA – and we always postpone to update the court. So 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. 

“The implications of that 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 every month, we have traditionally agreed on a longer-than-normal postponement… so that it allows for the appeals to be finalised.” 

Zuma is accusing Ramaphosa of committing a criminal offence by not acting against State advocate Billy Downer and News24 Journalist Karyn Maughan in 2021 regarding a leaking of the former president’s medical records.

Previously the Johannesburg High Court ruled that Zuma’s case hinged on an ulterior motive.

In July 2023, the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered that Zuma’s private prosecution of Ramaphosa was unlawful and unconstitutional, and it was set aside. It also interdicted the private prosecution and declared the summons issued against the President to be unlawful and invalid. The matter was dismissed with costs, including those of two counsels, to be paid on the attorney and client scale.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Jacob Zuma appeal against journalist Karyn Maughan and advocate Billy Downer dismissed with costs by Supreme Court of Appeal

But Zuma took the rulings on appeal, resulting in the ongoing private prosecution bid.

On Thursday, the private prosecution bid case was being heard three weeks after Zuma failed to remove Downer, whom he accused of prosecutorial bias in his arms deal corruption case heard in Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal. The case has since been adjourned for a pre-trial hearing on 17 May.

It has been one court battle after the other for Zuma. On Tuesday, the Electoral Court dismissed the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s decision to disqualify the former president from contesting the 29 May elections. This means he can contest the elections as an uMkhonto Wesizwe party candidate. DM

This is a developing story.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Electoral Court ruling on Zuma has echoes of its judgment on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Zuma is now beyond irritation; he is downright obnoxious and again has no hope of succeeding in this case which has been thrown out by high count so what chance in a civil court. he has in fact exceeded his freedom of speech by civil standards and is a downright bore!

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Zuma is the biggest bore ever,with Malema in 2nd place

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    This is obviously only to grandstand and the opportunity to call Ramaphosa “the accused””.

    Why the courts stand for it I dont know,

    • Ian Gwilt says:

      Agree with you
      Please make this endless game stop.
      I saw he is appealing the Downer , Maughan verdict, when is enough , enough ?
      All to prevent the Criminal charge being heard

  • Rae Earl says:

    Dali Mpofu, making big bucks as usual. And stupid Zuma, paying the clown excessive amounts for fighting a case he will lose. As he usually does.

    • Skinyela Skinyela says:

      Zuma knows very well that this is a hopeless case, like many others, he is just kicking for touch.

      The fact that you believe that he is being stupid for pursuing this matter means that he is ‘winning’…, he has you convinced that he is foolishly wasting money on lawyers like adv Mpofu.

      These are just tactics, the strategy is to avoid the arms deal case…

      These tactics have worked for him, for well over 15 years now.

  • GT1000RSA T says:

    Ramaphosa honestly such a passive piece of bread

  • Alan Paterson says:

    Obnoxious oaf. He should really be entered into the Guinness Book of Records for the longest ever terminal illness, that being about all he is good for.

  • Edwell Ntsoane says:

    It is surprising as to why the JSC is silent about Jacob Zuma’s abuse of the Judiciary. Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has set the precedence when Jacob Zuma refused to appear before the State capture Commission.

    Instead of referring Zuma’s case of refusing to appear to the Commission to the lower courts as a standard practice in law, the Chief Justice just referred the case straight to the constitutional Court and that saved the state time, money and justice was not delayed.

    The judiciary should seriously concider fastracking cases such as the arms deal one by reviewing the procedure in exceptional cases like such. In this way there will be no justice delayed or denied.

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      I don’t understand why this side story is delaying his trial. There seems to be no legal reason for it. It is almost as though the trial judge is collaborating in the delay.

  • Rozanne Tonkin says:

    At which point does a court decision become final with no appeal? These ongoing cases are ludicrous and set a precedent for any other person who wants to avoid prosecution?

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