Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa opposes Zuma’s appeal to SCA as private prosecution case postponed

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg postponed the case to August.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution bid against President Cyril Ramaphosa has been postponed to August, pending an appeal by the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party leader. 

The private prosecution case returned to the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday after the matter was postponed in December last year.

Ramaphosa opposes Zuma’s appeal

During proceedings, Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing Zuma, indicated that his client was challenging a July 2023 high court ruling, which reviewed and set aside the former president’s private prosecution in favour of Ramaphosa.

Mpofu confirmed that Ramaphosa filed his opposing papers with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last week.

“The latest status of the matter is that on the 4th of April, which is last Thursday, counsel for Mr Ramaphosa filed their answering affidavit opposing the application for reconsideration in the SCA which means we are now due to do a reply. So that’s where the matter stands at the moment.”

The advocate told the court that Zuma sought to keep his private prosecution case on the roll and requested for a postponement.

WATCH: Zuma’s bid to force removal of arms deal corruption prosecutor Downer dismissed

“The matter will have to be postponed once again and the reason why this has to be done, as we have explained to the previous judges, is that unlike normal criminal, 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 the said date then the matter is permanently dismissed.

“Therefore, the arrangement that we have had with this court through the DJP [Deputy Judge President] is that we have traditionally agreed on a longer than normal postponement to avoid coming here every month. Hopefully, by then these appeals might be either finalised one way or the other,” Mpofu explained.

The court postponed the case to 6 August.

Zuma has accused Ramaphosa of failing to take action against state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer for allegedly leaking his private medical records to journalist Karyn Maughan.

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

As a result, his successor was an “accessory after the fact in crimes committed” by Downer and Maughan.

Downer, Maughan private prosecution

Meanwhile, Zuma’s bid to privately prosecute Downer and Maughan will return to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) High Court in Pietermaritzburg next week.

Maughan’s lawyers made application on Tuesday asking the high court to strike the case off the roll, with a decision on the request expected on 17 April.

The application comes after the former president’s latest appeal bid was dismissed on 28 March.

READ MORE: Zuma threatens Zondo with legal action after ConCourt dismissed his private prosecution appeal

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

The various court judgments have, however, labelled the private prosecution as an “abuse” and a tactic to delay the arms deal trial, which Downer serves as the prosecutor.

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.