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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Private prosecution against Downer, Maughan ‘very much alive’ – Zuma Foundation [VIDEO]

Zuma suffered yet another defeat in a series of appeals in a long cycle of challenges to privately prosecute Downer and Maughan.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation says former President Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution of prosecutor Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan is far from over.

Zuma suffered yet another defeat in a series of appeals in a long cycle of challenges to privately prosecute Downer and Maughan.

On Wednesday, his private prosecution of prosecutor Downer and Maughan was removed from the roll by Judge Nkosinathi Chili in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

Watch Karyn Maughan speak about Zuma’s private prosecution

Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said they are happy with Judge Chilli’s ruling and don’t see anything untoward.

Case not over

However, Manyi said they want to make it clear, the case against Downer and Maughan is not over.

“The foundation says it must be clear that the judgement does not mean that the case has been dismissed, no. It simply means that the case has been moved off the roll and the reasons for moving the case of the roll, the judge made it very clear that its actually pending the other civil case that is out there.

“We also want to make it very clear, that the judgement made it abundantly clear that both Advocate Downer and Ms Maughan must present themselves In the criminal case on a date to be determined, which is a further confirmation that the case is still very much alive,” Manyi said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Zuma’s private prosecution against Downer, Maughan struck from the roll (VIDEO)

Zuma busy

Manyi said Judge Chili also made it clear that Zuma’s rights in the matter “would not be prejudiced,” after striking the case from the roll.

“The foundation actually appreciate this whole approach by the judge. We think the approach is a rational approach also if truth be told, President Zuma is quite busy now. The foundation was nervous that because President Zuma was so busy, he was at risk of being at odds with Section 11 of the Criminal Procedure act,

“The section says if the private prosecutor was not to be available, therefore the case become automatically dismissed. So, that issue is now off the table because the case if off the roll. So this gives President Zuma enough time to do whatever he needs to do up until the civil court’s three judges make the decision that would activate the private prosecution criminal case,” Manyi said.

Private prosecution

Zuma initiated a private prosecution against Downer and Maughan for allegedly sharing public court documents, including a medical note, in September 2022.

According to Zuma, this was in violation of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act.

The private prosecution was set aside on 7 June 2023, with Zuma being ordered to pay the costs of Downer and Maughan’s applications.

Various court judgments have labelled Zuma’s private prosecution an “abuse of the process of court”, had been pursued for an ulterior purpose, and was part his ‘Stalingrad strategy’ to avoid trial for the arms deal corruption matter.

The trial involving Zuma and the French arms company, Thales, is linked to a significant corruption case concerning a multi-billion rand arms deal.

The arms deal has been postponed to 17 May for a pre-trial.

ALSO READ: Let it go: Zuma’s court applications, appeals ‘ridiculous’