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Ramaphosa welcomes judgment interdicting Zuma to prosecute him privately

President Cyril Ramaphosa's has welcomed the judgement interdicting former president Jacob Zuma's from taking any further steps in his private prosecution bid. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa's has welcomed the judgement interdicting former president Jacob Zuma's from taking any further steps in his private prosecution bid. File photo.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the judgment interdicting former president Jacob Zuma from taking any further steps in his private prosecution bid.

The interdict is an interim one and will last until the courts have decided whether the prosecution is lawful and constitutional.

Gauteng deputy judge president Roland Sutherland said nothing in Monday's judgment was intended to prejudge the outcome in part B of the case.

Sutherland said Ramaphosa’s application to interdict Zuma’s private prosecution proceedings against him is justified.

Ramaphosa's spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the court affirmed all of the president’s key contentions, namely on jurisdiction of the court to hear the interdict application, the urgency of the matter against a court appearance date based on a prima facie unlawful nolle prosequi.

"The court further found in the president’s favour on the violation of rights to personal freedom based on a prima facie defective summons.

"The judgment confirms the position of the president that the private prosecution is motivated by the ulterior purpose based on spurious and unfounded charges, constitutes an abuse of private prosecution provisions and demonstrates flagrant disregard for the law," Magwenya said.

While handing down the judgment, Sutherland said Ramaphosa's relief was premised on the contention that to appear before a criminal court per se would be to submit to an unlawful intrusion on the rights to freedom of the applicant if the private prosecution is unlawful for want of proper authority.

“Herein lies the key factor that demonstrates the urgency relied on upon this matter. The trial date is January 19 2023 – less than a week away. There were other grounds of urgency relied upon but one is sufficient, if the aim is having to avoid to appear, even if merely for a formal postponement, the matter before this court is urgent.

“No person is expected to subordinate themselves to a private prosecution except where the state has issued a valid prosecution certificate which alleges to a crime allegedly committed by that person,” Sutherland said.

"There is a prima facie case of the applicant’s rights to freedom being violated…The respondent [Zuma] suffers no harm if there is a delay of the trial…The application is urgent. The first respondent [Zuma] is interdicted from a private prosecution… and the summons issued by the respondent against the applicant [Ramaphosa] are set aside.’’

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