South Africa’s high court sitting in Johannesburg on Monday ruled that former president Jacob Zuma could not proceed in his private prosecution of President Cyril Ramaphosa whom he accused of being an “accessory after the fact” for failing to investigate prosecutor Billy Downer following a complaint about the advocate’s conduct.The complaint alleged that Downer, as a National Prosecution Authority’s lead prosecutor in Zuma’s medical parole case, leaked the former president’s medical records to the public.
According to Zuma, Ramaphosa allegedly failed to act on this, thereby making him “an accessory to the fact in the matter”.
In Monday’s ruling, the court said the interdict was an interim one and would last until the courts have decided whether the private prosecution was lawful and constitutional, which is the second part of the case.
This development means that Ramaphosa would not have to appear in court for Zuma’s private prosecution case on Thursday as demanded by the latter’s lawyers.
The court said Ramaphosa’s application to interdict Zuma’s private prosecution proceedings against him was justified.
”There is a prima facie case of the applicant’s rights to freedom being violated. The respondent (Zuma) suffers no harm if there is a delay of the trial,” it said.