The KwaZulu-Natal High Court ruled in favor of senior state attorney Billy Downer and News24 journalist Karyn Maughan on Thursday and granted them an enforcement order.
This means that former president Jacob Zuma cannot continue to prosecute them privately while he takes the case on appeal. The court granted the application with costs.
Downer is the public prosecutor in Zuma’s corruption case.
The enforcement order is related to a previous ruling in the same court when Zuma was prohibited from re-instituting private prosecution, continuing with it or taking any further steps in this regard. It was found that Zuma’s private prosecution of Downer and Maughan amounts to an abuse of the process and that it was introduced with an ulterior motive.
Zuma wanted to have the two prosecuted privately because he believes that Downer leaked confidential information about his medical condition to Maughan.
The case revolves around a doctor’s note which was submitted to the court during Zuma’s corruption trial and which the state shared with Maughan, a specialist reporter. Zuma accused the two of being in breach of the National Prosecuting Authority Act (NPA). The note is part of court records, which are also public documents.
Zuma’s lawyer, Dali Mpofu, indicated earlier that he will exercise the right to automatic appeal if the enforcement order is granted.
Zuma has meanwhile returned to South Africa after his visit to Russia for medical treatment. It is still not clear what exactly the former president is doing. He must appear again in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday in the case against Downer and Maughan.
It is not yet clear what will happen during the proceedings on Friday.
BREAKING: Billy Downer and myself have won a ruling that enforces the High Court’s judgment that former President Zuma’s private prosecution against us is abusive and must be set aside.
This means ruling stands despite appeal efforts. Zuma ordered to pay attorney-client costs. pic.twitter.com/WIWl6eaOEt
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) August 3, 2023