Home South African Jacob Zuma to start Billy Downer’s private prosecution before September 6

Jacob Zuma to start Billy Downer’s private prosecution before September 6

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The Jacob Zuma Foundation, whose patron is Zuma, said the former president has three months to kick off the private prosecution, and he intends to abide by the legal time frame.

Former President Jacob Zuma will finally get a chance to prosecute Downer. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA

HAVING finally secured a certificate confirming that the NPA does not intend to prosecute one of its senior prosecutors, former president Jacob Zuma will now go ahead with privately prosecuting Advocate Billy Downer SC.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation, whose patron is Zuma, said the former president has three months to kick off the private prosecution, and he intends to abide by the legal time frame.

The undertaking comes after Tuesday, when the Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, Advocate Elaine Zungu, issued the certificate (nolle prosequi certificate).

Zungu said she had seen the affidavits and the statement filed by Zuma with the Pietermaritzburg SAPS regarding the alleged offences of Downer and decided not to prosecute him for breaching some laws regarding handling confidential information of accused people.

Zuma, who is currently out on medical parole for his contempt of court sentence, accuses the top NPA prosecutor of allegedly leaking his confidential medical and corruption trial records to some media houses and US spies.

In a statement, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said Zungu had declined to prosecute Downer SC due to insufficiency of evidence.

“The NPA agrees with the DPP that the charges laid against Adv Downer are baseless and cannot be sustained, hence her decision not to prosecute him. Adv Downer has the NPA’s full support and will continue to lead the prosecution team against Mr Zuma and Thales.

“Mr Zuma has the right to pursue a private prosecution, and due process should be followed. Advocate Downer will, of course, defend himself in terms of the various legal remedies available to him. The NPA will support Advocate Downer in defending himself against what we consider to be an abusive private prosecution,” Mhaga said.

Unfazed, the Jacob Zuma Foundation lambasted the NPA regarding the timing, saying they appear to be planning to place the delay in the corruption trial on Zuma.

“The malicious timing of the decision not to prosecute a matter which was reported to the PMB Police Station in October 2021 was the first sign of shenanigans by the NPA aimed at creating an artificial innocence of Downer just before the commencement of the Court proceedings.

“It remains a mystery why the NPA took more than two months to furnish His Excellency, President Zuma with the one sentence certificate after several demands and threats of litigation to compel Advocate Batohi to produce this certificate. We hope that the unnecessary delays were not an early indication of a planned NPA Stalingrad approach to these serious criminal charges, which will again be blamed on His Excellency President Zuma,” the foundation said in a statement.

It then announced that Zuma will privately prosecute Downer.

“The private prosecution has to be instituted within three months of the date of the certificate. That period expires on 6 September 2022. We wish to assure the public that the prosecution will be instituted long before that date, as the legal team has already started all the preparatory work. The draft charge sheet is ready. We look forward to seeing Mr Downer and his two accomplices in the dock and facing the music for their alleged criminal conduct,” it added.

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