Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
10 Sep 2021
10:39 am

Billy Downer didn’t leak Zuma’s medical records, says NPA

Molefe Seeletsa

Downer is the lead prosecutor in Zuma’s corruption trial, which also involves French arms company Thales as co-accused.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor Billy Downer. Picture: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has dismissed the allegation that former president Jacob Zuma’s medical records were leaked by its prosecutor Billy Downer.

Medical records

This is after the Jacob G Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi told Jacaranda FM that Zuma’s lawyers had filed an affidavit, which contained the allegation against Downer.

“To oppose what the lawyers of president Zuma have put on the table… They have put there an allegation, a very strong allegation that Billy Downer has been leaking medical records.

“And the details of all of those leakages and timings are all contained in the affidavit that has been filed. So we call upon [the] media to go and check the record in the court of the application made by the legal team of president Zuma,” Manyi said.

ALSO READ: Is Zuma telling old lies about Bill Downer? The NPA thinks so

Manyi also revealed that an investigation into the allegation has been launched after President Cyril Ramaphosa was informed on the matter.

“This complaint has been raised with president Ramaphosa. And he wasted no time in appreciating the seriousness of the matter and he has already launched his own investigation into Billy Downer. As things stand he has instructed [Justice] Minister [Ronald] Lamola to deal with the matter and part of what Mr Lamola has been requested to do or instructed to do is that he must raise the matter with the legal counsel,” he added.

However, the NPA has denied the allegations.

“We deny those allegations and we will vigorously oppose their application as advocate Downer has conducted himself with integrity,” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhanga told The Citizen on Friday.

The foundation previously threatened legal action over the handling of details of Zuma’s health.


This is not the first time that Zuma has gunned for Downer, with the former president previously accusing the lead prosecutor of being part of a conspiracy to get him arrested at all costs.

Zuma accused Downer of smearing his name and providing information to the media on his arms deal corruption case.

Downer is the lead prosecutor in Zuma’s corruption trial, which also involves French arms company Thales as co-accused.

Zuma is challenging Downer’s title to prosecute and has called for his recusal after having filed a special-plea application.

In addition, if he’s successful, Zuma also wants to be acquitted.

Zuma’s special-plea hearing against Downer has, however, experienced a number of delays with the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday postponing the matter to 21-22 September.

READ MORE: Downer hits back at Zuma: Trial will go on, with or without me

The trial was postponed so that a state-appointed medical team of specialists – in cooperation with Zuma’s medical team – could consider his medical evidence on his fitness to stand trial.

Zuma has been unable to attend the trial due to his admission to a military hospital since August for an undisclosed medical illness.

The 79-year-old was released on medical parole on Sunday, after he was incarcerated for 15 months being in contempt of court.

This is because he failed to comply with a ruling of the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) forcing him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

The former president was serving his prison sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

Additional reporting by Bernadette Wicks and Thapelo Lekabe