Jacob Zuma lays criminal complaint against Advocate Downer at PMB police station

The former president arrived at a police station in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday afternoon flanked by his security detail.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma (C) greets his supporters inside a police station in Pietermaritzburg on 21 October 2021 where Zuma is laying a criminal complaint against Billy Downer, the state's chief prosecutor in his corruption case. Picture: Michele Spatari/AFP

JOHANNESBURG/PIETERMARITZBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma has laid a criminal complaint against State Advocate Billy Downer.

Zuma arrived at a police station in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday afternoon flanked by his security detail.

The former president is gunning for Downer ahead of a High Court decision on whether the advocate can be recused from Zuma's corruption trial related to the 1999 arms deal.

The former statesman is accusing Downer of leaking his medical records to the media.

However, the NPA has dismissed this claim.

Zuma is currently on medical parole following his sentencing to 15 months for contempt of court.

Zuma walked into the police station looking calm with a smile on his face and shortly after opening the case against Downer, spokesperson for the Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, told journalists that Downer had leaked vital information.

“Advocate Downer authorised the leaking of sensitive and private information obtained in the course and scope of his employment, in breach of the aforementioned provisions of the NPA Act.”

He said some of the information was leaked to a legal reporter.

“President Zuma learnt during the court proceedings in Pietermaritzburg that advocate Downer SC breached the aforementioned provisions when he unlawfully handed the medical report involving His Excellency President Zuma, in an affidavit leaked to a journalist, Karyn Maughan, and that annexure is attached.”

Wim Trengove, also representing the State, said Zuma had been raising old complaints and conspiracies.

NPA CONCERNED ABOUT CASE TIMING

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was committed to upholding due process and the rule of law and would assess the merits of the charges against Downer in an objective manner.

The NPA said it noted the charges were presented while the matter was subject to judicial determination by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg and judgment was expected to be delivered next week.

The prosecuting authority also said it was worried about the timing in light of a pending the High Court judgment.

NPA’s spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said: “We need to indicate that we hold Mr Downer in high regard as the NPA, because throughout his career as a prosecutor, he has carried himself with integrity. However, we will allow the director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal to deal with the matter.”

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