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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Zuma turns to SCA in Ramaphosa private prosecution battle

Zuma initiated private prosecutions against Ramaphosa on the eve of the ANC national elective conference on 15 December last year.

Former President Jacob Zuma has taken the fight to privately prosecute President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Zuma made a brief appearance in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday.

The matter was postponed to the 11th of April, pending the outcome of Zuma’s petition before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to appeal the outcome of Ramaphosa’s review of the criminal private prosecution proceedings.

Watch Zuma at the high court in Joburg

During proceedings, the former president’s legal team led by Advocate Dali Mpofu said it wanted to consolidate its Ramaphosa appeal bid with another appeal aimed at overturning the setting aside of Zuma’s private prosecution of state prosecutor Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan.

Ramaphosa did not attend the proceeding after he secured an interdict in the matter.

ALSO READ: Court dismisses Zuma’s leave to appeal in Ramaphosa’s private prosecution

Private prosecution

The former president initiated private prosecutions against Ramaphosa on the eve of the African National Congress’ (ANC) national elective conference on 15 December last year.

Zuma accused Ramaphosa of being an “accessory after the fact” to another private prosecution he was pursuing against prosecutor Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan for an alleged breach of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

He also accused Downer, who is the lead prosecutor in his arms deal corruption trial, of allegedly leaking his confidential medical information to Maughan in August 2021.

Zuma based his attempt to prosecute Ramaphosa on an accusation the president failed to act after he complained about Downer.


In July, a full bench of the Gauteng High Court set aside Zuma’s private prosecution of Ramaphosa.

In their ruling, judges Mahomed Ismail, Selby Baqwa and Lebogang Modiba said Zuma’s private prosecution of the president was unlawful and unconstitutional.

The judges said Zuma brought the private prosecution against Ramaphosa “for an ulterior purpose in what amounts to an abuse of this court’s process”.

Not satisfied, Zuma appealed the matter and in September the same court dismissed Zuma’s application for leave to appeal with costs in a unanimous judgment.

The court also found the certificates on which the prosecution was based were vague, and one of them, initially issued in respect of Downer, did not apply to Ramaphosa.

ALSO READ: Zuma’s private prosecution of Downer and Maughan postponed for six months

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