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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘Ramaphosa received preferential treatment’, says Jacob Zuma Foundation

The Jacob Zuma Foundation said the high court 'misdirected itself'.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation said it feels vindicated in its misgivings about South Africa’s justice system after the South Gauteng High Court’s decision to grant President Cyril Ramaphosa an urgent interim interdict against private prosecution by the former president.

The full bench of the high court delivered its judgment on the matter on Monday.

Last week the court heard marathon arguments from Ramaphosa and Zuma’s legal teams in the president’s bid to block the summons for him to appear in court in private prosecution proceedings instituted by Zuma.

Zuma accused Ramaphosa of being an accessory after the fact in the case against State prosecutor, Billy Downer, and journalist, Karyn Maughan.

The former president alleges that the duo leaked his medical records, which were used as evidence in his arms deal corruption trial.

Court ‘misdirected itself’

The Jacob Zuma Foundation’s spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said the high court “misdirected itself”, and that Zuma is consulting his lawyers on the way forward.

“We want to put it on the record that justice has not been served. What we have here is preferential treatment, that is what has happened,” said Manyi.

“The foundation indeed does feel vindicated that all of a sudden at the eleventh hour that upgrading from one judge to a full bench was suspicious. So now we see why this is.”

ALSO READ: High court grants Ramaphosa urgent interdict against Zuma’s private prosecution

Manyi blames judiciary

Manyi said the judiciary is to blame for the decision to grant Ramaphosa an interdict.

“The foundation observes the duplicity of the judiciary that on the one hand we have a situation in the country where a person is charged for a lack of oversight for not doing something. But today, we heard that the court has characterised this case as a novel case of somebody that is being charged for something they have not done,” Manyi added.

“The court is speaking with a forked tongue on this issue.”

Court erred

Manyi said the foundation does not agree with the court’s decision.

“We think that the court has erred in that they are saying if President Ramaphosa goes to court, he will suffer irreparable harm. How can that be? From where we see it, irreparable harm is not something that President Ramaphosa would suffer,” Manyi said.

“But that harm is always repaired by the verdict of the court. If the court acquits you, the harm is repaired. We really think that we’ve got a criminal justice system for the elite, and you’ve got one for the poor where the elite can evade going to court.”

Manyi said unless Zuma’s lawyers advise otherwise, the former president is scheduled to be in the Johannesburg High Court on 19 January.

Presidency welcomes court decision

Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa has welcomed the decision by the South Gauteng High Court to interdict the private prosecution by Zuma from proceeding until the application to set aside the private prosecution is heard. 

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the court affirmed all of the president’s key contentions.

“Namely on jurisdiction of the court to hear the interdict application, the urgency of the matter against a court appearance date based on prima facie unlawful nolle prosequi,” Magwenya said.

“The court further found in the president’s favour on the violation of rights to personal freedom based on a prima facie defective summons.”

Ulterior motives

Magwenya said Zuma has ulterior motives.

“The judgment confirms the position of the president that the private prosecution is motivated by the ulterior purpose based on spurious and unfounded charges, constitutes an abuse of private prosecution provisions and demonstrates flagrant disregard for the law,” he said.

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