Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Karyn Maughan, Billy Downer’s application to set aside Zuma’s prosecution to be heard in December

At the same time, the former president's private prosecution case has been postponed to 2023.

Legal journalist Karyn Maughan’s application challenging former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution has been adjourned until December.

Maughan’s urgent application to set aside the prosecution was expected to be heard on Monday, 10 October, but was stood down due to the judge’s conflict of interest. 

However, a new judge will be allocated when the matter returns to December.

Zuma has accused Maughan and state prosecutor Billy Downer of allegedly breaching the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act for the alleged leak of his private medical records.


The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday was informed that Zuma had deposited R500 000 in order to pursue the private prosecution.

It was previously reported that Downer wanted Zuma to put up an additional R1 million to the R90 000 he had already deposited to the High Court as security.

“It is recorded that the review application pertaining to the amount [deposited] by the private prosecutor, Mr Zuma, as security for costs has been settled and that application is, therefore, struck from the roll,” Judge Nkosinathi Chili ruled.

Ordinary roll

Regarding Downer and Maughan’s applications challenging the prosecution, Zuma’s legal representative , advocate Dali Mpofu told the court that the parties have agreed that these matters be heard on 8 and 9 December, while the private prosecution case itself be heard in 2023.

This is if the bid to have the private prosecution set aside fails.

“By agreement with the parties, it would then be postponed to 2nd of February 2023, and that is at least from our point intended to create sufficient time so that there will be a judgment in the civil matters, Mpofu said.

ALSO READ: Karyn Maughan challenging prosecution a ‘stillborn attempt’ to ‘prevent inevitable’ – Zuma

However, Steven Budlender, legal representative for Maughan, argued that there was no agreement that the matters should be heard on the ordinary roll.

“They are not consolidated, they are going to be heard together and there is agreement that we will ask the Judge President to allocate a judge to hear them on the 8th and 9th of December at the same time.

“And there is that the criminal matter can then stand until the 2nd of February 2023. There is not agreement that the matters should be heard on the ordinary roll quite the contrary as my learned friend says… The agreement is that it should be heard for two days,” he told the court.

‘Extremely urgent’

Budlender further said that the notion that Maughan no longer asserted urgency was “equally incorrect”.

“Ms Maughan’s position is that is extremely urgent and she wishes to have it heard as soon as possible because her case, as it appears on the papers, is that he application has been brought for the sole purpose of harassing her, intimidating her and preventing her from doing her job. Of course Mr Zuma disputes that and he is entitled to dispute that, but that is Ms Maughan’s case,” he said.

READ MORE: Zuma loses bid in ConCourt for Maya to reconsider removal of Downer

“As a practical matter because the urgent judge couldn’t hear the matter this morning because he had a conflict of interest that is the reason the matter has not been removed from the roll, but has been stood down. It was purely as a practicality agreed to postpone the case to December,” Budlender added.

Following a brief adjournment, Judge Chili postponed the case to the agreed date.

“Mr Downer and Ms Maughan, you are warned to appear in this court on the 2nd of February 2023, at 9.30am in the morning,” he ruled after consultation with the Acting Judge President.


Zuma was given a nolle prosequi certificate – which allows someone with interest to pursue private prosecution – by the NPA in June this year, after the institution declined to prosecute Downer, citing lack of evidence on the matter.

The former president had laid a criminal complaint against Downer at the Pietermaritzburg Police Station in October 2021, for allegedly leaking his confidential medical records to Maughan.

The alleged information leak is related to a letter written by brigadier-general, Dr Mcebisi Mdutywa when Zuma was in prison.

Maughan has, however, argued that Zuma’s prosecution against her has ulterior motives since there was no nolle prosequi certificate issued.

NOW READ: Zuma is officially a free man as prison sentence expires

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