Now that Jacob Zuma is a free man, he has laid down the gauntlet to journalist Karyn Maughan and leading state prosecutor in the multi-billion rand arms deal, Advocate Billy Downer.
The former president’s private prosecution case against the News 24 journalist and Downer will take place in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court sitting in Pietermaritzburg on Monday morning.
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Zuma opened a criminal complaint in October last year at the Pietermaritzburg police station against Downer for allegedly leaking his confidential medical records to Maughan.
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The former president claimed the leak was a breach of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) act.
The NPA gave Zuma a private prosecution certificate – known as a nolle prosequi certificate – in June this year after it declined to prosecute Downer for allegedly leaking the former president’s medical records.
It cited a lack of evidence for its decision.
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Zuma has been in high spirits after his parole for his contempt conviction expired on Friday.
A video posted on social media shows of the former president dancing at his Nkandla home.
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A spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi tweeted that the 80-year-old will attend the proceedings.
Manyi spoke to the SABC on Sunday.
“This dark cloud of fifteen months has passed him that already has given him a breath of fresh air. So, he’s looking forward to ensuring tomorrow (Monday) becomes what it should be, which is justice.”
“Tomorrow is supposed to be a day where equality before the law is demonstrated to be where the law says this; there are no people that are going to say the law does not affect me because I am so and so,” Manyi said.
While, Manyi issued the latest communication on behalf of the Zuma’s foundation, the elderly former statesman, in separate court papers, said Manyi is not his spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Maughan has filed an urgent application challenging her prosecution, in which she accused Zuma of having “ulterior” motives.
“Mr Zuma’s answer, replete as it is with vitriolic attacks against me and my reporting, confirms that he is intent on discrediting and silencing me as a journalist. It is clear that his institution of a private prosecution against me is instituted for that ulterior and impermissible purpose,” she said.
Zuma hits back
In papers opposing Maughan’s application, Zuma denied allegations that he was targeting the journalist, saying he had a right to prosecute Maughan.
Zuma said Maughan’s application represented one of “a stillborn attempt to prevent the inevitable”.
“In doing so‚ I do not seek to stop her from reporting about my trial. I do not even wish for balanced reporting from her because she is incapable of that.
Zuma fired back, saying it was Maughan who had an ulterior motive and that she was assisting what he called “the NPA’s media campaign” to portray him as a criminal.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal behind Zuma
Meanwhile, the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal, in a statement, said it remains “firmly behind” Zuma as he prepares to appear before the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
“We continue to encourage ANC rank and file to support Msholozi during this period as our father and a dedicated leader who sacrificed his life for all of us to attain this political freedom,” said KZN ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele.
“We offer our unwavering support to Nxamalala because he has more to offer in terms of promoting the unity of our people,” Mndebele said.
Mndebele has encouraged ANC members and people across all sectors of society, and faith-based organisations to join the ANC PEC in court.
“Collectively – we must offer our support to Nxamalala,” said Mndebele.
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