Zuma’s private prosecution of Ramaphosa declared unlawful and unconstitutional

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has set aside former president Jacob Zumas private prosecution of current President Cyril Ramaphosa, with the judge declaring the application unlawful and unconstitutional.

In their ruling, judges Mahomed Ismail, Selby Baqwa and Lebogang Modiba said Zuma’s private prosecution of the president was unlawful.“Mr Zuma’s private prosecution of Mr Ramaphosa in respect of the charges set out in the summons and grounded on the allegations set out in the summary of facts attached to the summons is interdicted,” read the judgement. Zuma is to pay for the costs.

The Court found that former Zuma instituted the private prosecution of Ramaphosa for an ulterior motive.

Zuma accused President Ramaphosa of being an accessory to a crime related to prosecutor advocate Billy Downer’s alleged leaking of the former President’s medical records.

Zuma accused Downer of violating the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act by allegedly leaking his confidential medical information to journalist Karyn Maughan in August 2021.

The court also found the nolle prosequi certificates, upon which the prosecution was based were vague and one of them, originally issued in respect of Downer, does not apply to Ramaphosa.

“The summons, issued against Ramaphosa on December 15 and 21 last year — on the “strength of nolle prosequi certificates that are vague and do not relate to Ramaphosa” — were also unlawful, invalid and unconstitutional, said the court. “They therefore fall to be set aside.”

Zuma has also been ordered to pay Ramaphosa’s costs, including the costs of two of his counsel.

“Mr Zuma’s private prosecution of Mr Ramaphosa instituted under the summons is unlawful and unconstitutional and is set aside.”


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