Durban – As former president Jacob Zuma seeks to move ahead with his private prosecution of senior state prosecutor Billy Downer and News24 journalist Karen Maughan, he has accused Downer of trying to delay the case.
In August, Zuma was given a court date for the private prosecution matter. Zuma wants to prosecute the two for contravention of section 41(6) of the National Prosecuting Act for the alleged leaking of his medical records.
The matter will be heard at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on October 10.
Downer, the prosecutor in the State’s arms deal case against Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales, has lodged an application for the judge to review the amount that Zuma has paid as security.
The former president had paid R90 000 but Downer wants him to put down at least R1million, saying the amount paid by Zuma is insufficient to cover the costs of legal counsel.
Downer, in papers filed to the court, argues that Zuma is under financial pressure as the curator of VBS Mutual Bank had recently secured an execution order against the former president for non-payment of a loan.
Downer said he was not confident that Zuma could settle the costs of his defence, given the legal costs and that the matter could run for 10 days or more.
Zuma’s spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said Downer was trying to delay next month’s court appearance.
“The former president has no say in determining the amount set down as security, this was determined by the court.
“In terms of the Criminal Prosecution Act, no private prosecution can go on unless the private prosecutor puts up the money as security.
“In this case the court, and not former president Zuma, has determined the amount.”
Manyi said Zuma did not negotiate with the court and if Downer thinks the amount determined by the court for security is wrong, “then that is his problem”.
“These are nothing but Stalingrad tactics to delay the court process,” Manyi said.