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.
He declined to give details about the criminal charges when members of the media asked him as he left the police station. He said the JG Foundation would provide more details about the case.
On Wednesday the foundation tweeted that Downer’s alleged conduct was in breach of sections of the National Prosecuting Authority Act (NPA)
Last month Zuma’s advocate, Dali Mpofu, Mpofu said the Act prohibited Downer from providing court documents to journalists. He said Downer could face a 15-year sentence if found guilty.
"Former president Zuma takes the strongest possible exception to what was done with his confidential information and the way it was treated in this court. It amounts to criminal activity," Mpofu said at the time.
On Thursday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it noted the criminal charges against Downer with concern.
“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,” said NPA’s Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga.
He added that while the law must be allowed to follow its course, the NPA was concerned about the context within which these charges had 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,” said Mhaga.
He said the NPA would allow the director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal to deal with the matter as and when she received the case docket from the police.