NPA Accuses Jacob Zuma of Using Intimidation Tactics Against Advocate Billy Downer

NPA Accuses Jacob Zuma of Using Intimidation Tactics Against Advocate Billy Downer

  • The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it will fully support lead prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer as he faces criminal charges
  • Former President Jacob Zuma is taking Downer and a journalist to court for leaking his private medical information
  • South Africans have opposing views about who is right in this situation, with some people saying that Zuma is abusing the legal system

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PIETERMARITZBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority(NPA) has described former President Jacob Zuma's decision to file criminal charges against state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer and News24 journalist Karyn Maughan as intimidation tactics.

Former President Jacob Zuma
The NPA has accused Jacob Zuma of using intimidation tactics by filing criminal charges against lead prosecutor Billy Downer. Image: Thomas Lohnes
Source: Getty Images

Zuma took the private prosecution route against the pair for sharing his private medical information with the public last year. The charges were filed on Tuesday, 6 September, after the NPA decided not to charge Downer.

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NPA spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga stated that the legal institution fully supports Downer, who is expected to appear at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 10 October, alongside Maughan, according to SABC News.

Mhaga explained that the NPA did not prosecute Downer because there was no merit to the charges Zuma had laid against Downer. Mhaga added that Zuma's allegations are baseless and cannot be sustained.

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Mhaga added that Zuma filed these charges in an attempt to delay his arms deal trial further as Downer has been appointed as the lead prosecutor.

News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson accused Zuma of attempting to bully Maughan because she did nothing wrong by receiving court documents and publishing the contents.

"There is absolutely nothing strange or wrong about being given access to court papers that are about to be filed at court, for public viewing. Court papers are inherently public documents," said Basson.

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South Africans react

@Mhla798937012 said:

"That NPA is just a political party that anyone can see is a tool busy creating more damage in the ruling party."

@g_mapaya said:

"It's his right bathong. He is well within the constitution."

@KarooBoer_45 said:

"Nothing but yet another costly delaying tactic!"

@Samad84510045 said:

"It's not surprising they always intimidate people with malicious prosecution. No evidence-based prosecution just following people nje."

@HlatseMo said:

"You guys are the ones intimidating Zuma using your media house. Tell us, is what your journalist did legal or illegal? Are there any grounds for criminal prosecution? And lastly, does Zuma have any rights in this beloved country or ke bo Karyn fela?"

Zuma charges Advocate Billy Downer and journalist for allegedly working together to publish medical records

Briefly News previously reported that former President Jacob Zuma has opted to launch a private prosecution against State Advocate Billy Downer and News24 journalist Karyn Maughan. The pair were served with summons on Tuesday, 6 September.

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The charge is related to the publication of Zuma’s medical condition last year. The publication claims that details surrounding his medical condition were attached to court papers lodged at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

The former president believes that publishing his medical details was in violation of sections of the National Prosecuting Act. His legal team claims that the state advocate leaked the court information to Maughan.

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Source: Briefly News

Lebogang Mashego avatar

Lebogang Mashego (Current Affairs HOD) Lebogang Mashego runs the Current Affairs desk. She joined the Briefly News team in 2021. She has 6 years of experience in the journalism field. Her journalism career started while studying at Rhodes University, where she worked for the Oppidan Press for 3 years. She worked as a lifestyle writer and editor at W24 and Opera News. She graduated with a BA degree majoring in Journalism and Media Studies in 2017. She's a recipient of the INMA Elevate Scholarship. Email:

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