Jacob Zuma plans fresh bid against prosecutor Billy Downer

Former president Jacob Zuma is scheduled to appear in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.

“But for now President Zuma has decided that the only way to deal with Downer is through private prosecution so wheels are in motion to see that that happens,” said foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi.

Speaking at a press briefing to announce their latest stance regarding Zuma’s upcoming corruption case, Manyi said the intention was to pursue a private prosecution of Downer, lead prosecutor in the arms deal-related case.

“Out of the blue we have seen a frenzy of activity by the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority], including taking a statement from Adv [Glynis] Breytenbach in Cape Town on April 1 and 7 from [journalist] Karyn Maughan at Rosebank police station,” Manyi said.

“In the middle of all this and on April 5, a decision was taken by NPA not to prosecute Adv Downer. In all the confusion it was clear that the left did not know what the right hand was doing. It’s a sad decision clearly made before all the statements were taken. Speed kills.

“Another new disturbing information is that the investigating officer, as part of his engagement with Zuma on April 8, innocently decreed that the matter was to be investigated by the KZN office. On the face of it, nothing turns on that — probably because that was where the scene of the crime was. However, one must take into account that the KZN office is the same office where Zuma’s prosecution is being masterminded.”

Manyi said the legal team representing Zuma is waiting for the reasons and the certificate confirming “this spurious decision” not to prosecute Downer, and “which was only made known to Zuma during a Zoom meeting on the afternoon of Friday April 8”.

Manyi said the NPA on Saturday served a supplementary affidavit in a bid to bolster its case “for a postponement application in these carefully orchestrated events”.

However, he said the foundation could confirm that Zuma would be present at court on Monday and, through his legal team, would respond to the affidavit “in which they seek to introduce new evidence on the events of the last few days”.

“Zuma has instructed his legal team to lodge a private prosecution against Downer subject to all legal requirements and protocols as soon as the Supreme Court of Appeal announces its expected biased decision,” said Manyi.

He denied allegations that Zuma was using delay tactics to stall the case.

“All Zuma wants is his day in court in a fair trial, not one like this that has all the hallmarks of being rigged by the state. And we trust that all the previous unfair and incorrect court decisions taken along the way will be rectified by higher courts,” he said, referring to Zuma’s tendency to block the case at every stage.

“We hold the view that the day that all are equal before the law has not yet come, and Zuma has been treated unfairly. He is applying for a postponement only because the conditions for fair trial are not evident,” Manyi said, adding that the legal team is “ready to present Zuma’s case tomorrow”.

Manyi said Zuma “calls on all those who support him to be vigilant, disciplined and patient and to always to act within the law”.

“No person should take the law into their own hands and there must not be abuse of positional authority.”

TimesLIVE

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