AS IT HAPPENED | Zuma lays criminal charges against Billy Downer

Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma.
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21 October 15:36

RECAP | Zuma lays criminal charges against senior state prosecutor, Billy Downer

Former president Jacob Zuma has delivered on his threat of laying criminal charges against senior state prosecutor Billy Downer, over allegedly leaking medical records.

Zuma, who was accompanied by his daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, descended to Pietermaritzburg’s Loop Street Police Station to open the case on Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday the foundation tweeted that Downer’s alleged conduct was in breach of sections of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

Last month Zuma’s advocate, Dali Mpofu, said the Act prohibited Downer from providing court documents to journalists. He said Downer could face a 15-year sentence if found guilty.
The Witness has the details

21 October 15:17

JUST IN | NPA reacts to Zuma's case

The National Prosecuting Authority has noted with concern
the charges laid against Adv Billy Downer at the Pietermaritzburg Police Station today by the Jacob Zuma Foundation. We understand these charges relate to alleged breach of the section 41 (6) of the NPA which prohibits disclosing of information without the permission of the National Director.

The NPA is committed to upholding due process and the rule of law and will assess the merits of the charges in an objective manner. We also note that these charges are laid while the matter is subject to judicial determination by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg and judgment is expected to be delivered on 26 October 2021.

While the law must be allowed to follow its course, the NPA is concerned about the context within which these charges have been laid, and the timing in light of the pending judgement of the High Court. Adv Downer SC is a highly respected prosecutor who has carried himself with integrity throughout his career in the NPA.

His reputation speaks for itself. All NPA prosecutors are required to act without fear and favour and should feel confident to deliver on their mandates without fear of intimidation. However, we will allow the Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal to deal with the matter as and when she receives the case docket from the police.

21 October 15:14

The affidavit says Downer's conduct could be tantamount to criminal wrongdoing. 

Zuma demands the police investigate these contraventions. Zuma once again brings up allegations of "foreign spies" being involved in this matter. 

21 October 15:12

Manyi continues reading from the affidavit, saying Zuma first became aware of these contraventions after information brought forward by at least two investigators. He mentions the infamous Browse Mole report. 

The affidavit says that Zuma learnt that Downer breached provisions of the NPA when he leaked medical information to News24 journalist, Karyn Maughan. 

21 October 15:11

The affidavit says it is "clear that there was criminal interference... by person not authorised... including foreign spies and intelligence."

He says Zuma was advised that no one is allowed to give information, without permission, to any person. Zuma claims several parts of the NPA Act have been contravened during the investigation of his case. 

21 October 15:08

Manyi begins reading from Zuma's affidavit that was submitted when laying the case against Downer.

Zuma says in the affidavit that it was "clear" that criminal conduct was taken place to influence his case.

He says there is "evidence that during the course of the investigation and Zuma's prosecution" that information was leaked to people who had nothing to do with the law. 

21 October 15:04

Zuma has left the police station. He will not be taking questions from the media. There appears to be a crowd of supporters outside the Jabu Ndlovu Street police station in Pietermaritzburg, where he opened a criminal case against prosecutor, Billy Downer. 

21 October 15:03

Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi is speaking to the media. He is about to read a statement on Zuma's behalf. 

Manyi thanks the media for covering the event. Zuma is leaving the police station, and it looks like he won't be taking questions. 

21 October 15:01

Zuma is done opening a criminal case against Downer. He looks set to speak to the media now...

21 October 14:13

Zuma waves to an excited crowd

21 October 14:12

Zuma arrives with his security detail

21 October 13:08

Battle over Zuma medical info on hold as NPA defends Downer against 'totally unjustified' attacks

Jacob Zuma's lawyers insist there is no need for him to be examined by State-appointed doctors - or for his medical records to be subpoenaed by the State - because he is currently not claiming he is unfit to stand trial.


21 October 13:08

Zuma says SA is becoming 'constitutional dictatorship' after he loses in court

After failing in his bid to have his 15-month sentence for contempt overturned last week, former president Jacob Zuma says South Africa is turning from a democracy into a "constitutional dictatorship". 


21 October 13:08

Jacob Zuma to lay criminal charges against State advocate Billy Downer

The Jacob Zuma Foundation has announced that the former president will lay criminal charges against State advocate Billy Downer for allegedly leaking affidavits containing information about his health.

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