'Free man' Jacob Zuma will attend case against Downer and Maughan — JZ Foundation

09 October 2022 - 15:38 By TImesLIVE
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Former President Jacob Zuma
Former President Jacob Zuma
Image: Theo Jeptha

Former president Jacob Zuma plans to attend the private prosecution of advocate Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation posted on social media site Twitter that Zuma — “a free man” — will be there in person.

Zuma has summonsed Maughan, a News24 journalist, and Downer, lead prosecutor in his corruption and fraud trial, to appear in the Pietermaritzburg high court where he intends on privately prosecuting them on allegations that Downer leaked his confidential medical documents to Maughan.

Maughan has launched an urgent application to set aside the summons. She said the summons was a “gross abuse of court process”, obtained for ulterior purposes of intimidating and harassing her and preventing her from doing her job and reporting on his arms deal trial.

Zuma, in an answering affidavit, said Maughan did not dispute she received documents from Downer containing his medical information. He said he wanted to raise preliminary points on the basis of which her application stands to be dismissed or struck off the roll. These included lack of urgency, the court’s lack of jurisdiction to hear her application and prematurity.

Downer has said the private prosecution brought against him was another attempt by the former president to avoid standing trial.

In his founding affidavit, Downer said it was “another play in Zuma’s Stalingrad tactic”.

“The purpose of this application is to put a stop to the private prosecution because it is an obvious abuse of the process of this court driven by Mr Zuma’s ulterior purpose to discredit me as his prosecutor. It has all the hallmarks of another play in Mr Zuma’s Stalingrad tactic,” he said.

On Friday, the department of correctional services said Zuma was officially a free man after the expiry of his contempt of court sentence. Zuma was sentenced last year to 15 months' imprisonment by the Constitutional Court after he breached its order that he honour a summons to appear at the state capture inquiry.

He was admitted at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021. After serving less than two months, he was granted medical parole by Arthur Fraser, former national commissioner of correctional services.


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