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Zuma foundation still studying damning private prosecution ruling

todayOctober 13, 2023 138

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President Jacob Zuma at the African National Congress elective conference in Johannesburg last December.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation says the former president’s lawyers are still studying the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment, which dismissed his application for leave to appeal a ruling that set aside his private prosecution.

The organisation says a statement on this will be released in due course.

Zuma had approached the SCA in a bid to overturn a previous ruling by three judges in his private prosecution case against state advocate, Billy Downer, and journalist, Karyn Maughan.

The SCA dismissed the matter with costs.

Judge Nathan Ponnan said the former president’s attempt to privately prosecute the duo was a patently hopeless case and unsustainable.

“It is a mere allegation, without any attempt to produce any evidence to justify it. It is improper,” the judge added.

While delivering judgment, the court also touched on the importance of press freedom, which Maughan had spoken out about it being hampered, and how she had at times felt this was due to her being a journalist, while covering this matter.

“Free speech goes hand in hand with open justice, which is a fundamental principle of the common law. There is a necessary interdependence between the court and the press. It has thus come to be accepted that the media, reporting accurately and fairly on legal proceedings and judgments, make an invaluable contribution to public confidence in the judiciary and, thus, to the rule of law itself.”

Zuma foundation spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi ,says some of the aspects of the judgment are interesting and could have prejudiced the former president’s case.

 

Zuma is accusing Downer of having contravened the NPA Act by leaking his medical records to Maughn when he was released on medical parole in 2021.

 

 

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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