President Cyril Ramaphosa rejects the private prosecution, says Zuma is abusing legal processes.
South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has charged current President Cyril Ramaphosa in a private prosecution, a move Ramaphosa rejects as an “abuse of legal processes”.
This comes as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) begins its national elective conference on Friday to decide whether Ramaphosa will stand for president in South Africa’s next election in 2024. Ramaphosa has led the ANC since he took over from Zuma in 2017.
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Zuma initiated the proceedings on Thursday, accusing Ramaphosa of being an alleged “accessory” in the leaking of a confidential medical document about him to the media.
The case is linked to Zuma’s long-running but so far unsuccessful campaign to remove prosecutor Billy Downer, who is pursuing the ex-president on corruption charges related to a 1990s arms deal.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has been charged in a private prosecution with the criminal offence of being accessory after the fact in the crimes committed by among others Advocate Downer namely, breaching the provisions of the [National Prosecuting Authority] NPA Act,” the Jacob Zuma Foundation said in a statement.
“The serious crimes for which Mr Ramaphosa has been charged with in a court of law carry the sentence of 15 years in prison,” it added.
In response, the presidency issued a statement on Friday saying: “President Cyril Ramaphosa rejects with the utmost contempt Mr. Jacob Zuma’s abuse of legal processes and perversion of the ‘nolle prosequi’ (private prosecution) provision.”