South Africa News

President Cyril Ramaphosa to know his fate next week

Former president Jacob Zuma has instituted private prosecution proceedings against his successor after Billy Downer SC and Karyn Maughan allegedly leaked Zuma’s confidential medical information during his arms deal trial.
The country will have to wait until Monday before it knows if President Cyril Ramaphosa will be forced to appear before the Gauteng High Court, South Division, next week after judgment was reserved on whether he has succeeded in blocking a private prosecution.

Former president Jacob Zuma has instituted private prosecution proceedings against his successor, accusing him of being an “accessory after the fact”.

This after advocate Billy Downer SC and journalist Karyn Maughan allegedly leaked Zuma’s confidential medical information during his arms deal trial.

On Thursday, the president applied to the court to grant him an interdict that would prevent him from appearing on January 19 after receiving a summons from Zuma last year. Ramaphosa also wants the court to declare Zuma’s private prosecution against him unconstitutional.

Part of the summons states that Ramaphosa should appear as an accused person in the matter against Downer and Maughan, saying that he did nothing about the matter.

In court, presided over by a full Bench composed of Gauteng Deputy Judge President (DJP) Roland Sutherland, Edwin Molahlehi and Marcus Senyatsi, Zuma was represented by advocate Dali Mpofu while Ramaphosa’s legal team was led by advocate Ngwako Maenetje.

Mpofu argued: “I want to make two points. The first is about Zuma’s assertion that he has been unfairly maligned by the mainstream media and Ramaphosa for the ‘nine wasted years’ of his presidency.”

Mpofu argued that Ramaphosa failed to deal with Zuma’s complaint against Downer because of “bad blood”. Again, this did not appear to amount to a criminal offence.

Maenetje argued that there was no public interest involved in Zuma’s private prosecution of Ramaphosa, saying it was solely about “Mr Zuma’s private interests”. He said Zuma only wanted to see Ramaphosa appearing in court “for his own reasons”.

Justice Sutherland said the Bench would deliver the judgment at 9.30am on Monday. Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya could not be reached for comment.

The courtroom was filled to capacity with journalists and friends of Zuma, including Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi and Dudu Myeni. Carl Niehaus, who recently resigned from the ANC, was also there alongside Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla.

Also present was Zuma’s friend Louis Liebenberg, who is allegedly footing the bill for Zuma’s legal fees.

Speaking outside court, Manyi called for Ramaphosa to step aside.

“They keep dragging us into political stuff and we have been very careful as a foundation to comment on ANC things. In court they bring up the step-aside issue and say that the step-aside should be invoked.

“As is, the step-aside has not been invoked. This is all to run away from step-aside which he actually can’t. As from December 15 President Cyril Ramaphosa became a criminally charged person before the court.

“I really think that advocate Mpofu destroyed the application of President Cyril Ramaphosa, seriously destroyed it,” said Manyi. Zuma-Sambudla was adamant that Ramaphosa would fail to interdict a private prosecution by the former president.

She was speaking to the media, just before leaving the court. Advocate Dali Mpofu did a good job to prove the point that the president had to answer for and that date is next week where he would have to appear before the court. See you next week,” Zuma-Sambudla said.

Souce: eNCA

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