Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist


Zuma to challenge Ramaphosa’s interdict, private prosecution case postponed

Zuma could go straight to the Constitutional Court for the appeal.


Former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution case against President Cyril Ramaphosa has been postponed to May.

Zuma and his legal team briefly appeared in the Johannesburg High Court on Thursday despite Ramaphosa being granted an urgent interdict this week.

The ruling halted the former president’s private prosecution bid against his successor, pending final determination of part B of Ramaphosa’s review application.

The interdict was part A of the president’s application.

Appeal

Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Dali Mpofu, on Thursday argued the matter was enrolled on the court’s roll despite the temporary relief granted to Ramaphosa.

Mpofu said the interdict only exempted the president from appearing in court and argued that the legal team could risk the case being struck off the roll.

He, therefore, requested for an adjournment or postponement to a later date.

“In a nutshell, without this sitting the charge would be dismissed,” Mpofu said.

ALSO READ: ‘Ramaphosa received preferential treatment’, says Jacob Zuma Foundation

The advocate also informed Judge Ismail Mahomed that Zuma would appeal Monday’s judgment, however, the legal team was yet to decide on which court to approach.

He hinted that Zuma could go straight to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).

“If, as we are inclined, it goes directly to the Constitutional Court then we will seek leave from that court.

“Of course if we want to go to the SCA [Supreme Court of Appeal], we must seek leave from the high court itself. We have 15 days to make those decisions, but in principle there will be an appeal,” Mpofu told the court.

Mahomed granted the postponement to 26 May as requested by Mpofu.

Summons

Ramaphosa was expected to present himself before the court on Thursday, based on Zuma’s summons issued in December 2022.

Zuma seeks to prosecute Ramaphosa, arguing he was an “accessory after the fact” in relation to charges the former president is pursuing against senior state prosecutor Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan.

He alleged that Ramaphosa committed a criminal offence by not acting against Downer and Maughan when he lodged a complaint with the Presidency’s office on 19 August 2021.

RELATED: How Jacob Zuma is funding his private prosecution against Downer and Maughan

The former president has accused Downer and Maughan of allegedly leaking his confidential medical information during his arms deal trial.

Both Downer and Maughan, however, have since lodged applications to have Zuma’s private prosecutions declared an abuse of court processes.

Their case challenging the prosecution is expected be heard by the Pietermaritzburg High Court in March 2023.

Part B

Meanwhile, the Johannesburg High Court is expected to hear Ramaphosa’s part B on 17 and 18 May.

The president approached the high court in December, arguing that Zuma’s move was an “abuse of private prosecution process”.

He also pointed out that no nolle prosequi certificate was issued against him by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa’s legal team argues Zuma is trampling on his constitutional rights

Ramaphosa further argued that he did not commit any crime because he wrote to Zuma’s legal team on 25 August 2021, informing them that the matter had been referred to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, and he had asked him to refer the complaint to the Legal Practice Council (LPC).

Meanwhile, the trial against Zuma and French arms manufacturer, Thales, is expected to resume on 30 January.

Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

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