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South African court to decide whether to stop Zuma’s lawsuit against Ramaphosa

Johannesburg, 12 Jan. A South African court will announce its decision next Monday on the urgent request of the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to provisionally halt the progress of a lawsuit filed against him by his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, considering it “illegal”.

“This accusation is ‘prima facie’ (at first sight) illegal. Why should my client be exposed to an illegal accusation?” Ramaphosa’s lawyer, Hamilton Maenetje, said Thursday when appearing in Johannesburg High Court. , which postponed the announcement of its ruling after the hearing held today.

On December 15, the Jacob Zuma Foundation announced the lawsuit filed in this court against the South African president, whom it accused of “serious crimes” that carry a penalty of “fifteen years in prison”, but without specifying those crimes at the time.

According to the foundation, the former president sued his successor in connection with the case of prosecutor Billy Downer, who it says illegally leaked his medical reports.

Zuma accuses Ramaphosa, among others, of violating the National Prosecution Act and of being “complicit” in the “crimes committed” by Downer by failing to investigate them when the former president complained about them, according to the foundation, which indicated that the ” defendant” should appear in court on January 19.

But the lawyer for the South African president maintained this Thursday that the “charges” of which Zuma accuses him do not constitute a criminal act.

Ramaphosa wants the legal proceedings halted until the court determines whether Zuma’s lawsuit against him is unconstitutional and illegal, as the president claims.

Zuma’s lawyer, Dali Mpofu, argued for his side at today’s hearing that the court does not have jurisdiction to make a decision on Ramaphosa’s petition and denied that it is “urgent.”

In a statement released by the South African Presidency, the head of state in December described Zuma’s initiative as an “abuse of legal process” and described the charges as “false and unfounded.”

Zuma filed the lawsuit against Ramaphosa, 70, ahead of the 55th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) in mid-December in which the president was re-elected as leader of the formation.

Downer is the main prosecutor in the corruption trial against Zuma (2009-2018) for an arms deal, which was postponed until January 30.

Zuma, 80, wants Downer recused from the case and has sued the prosecutor and South African News24 reporter Karyn Maughan, alleging that the prosecutor leaked information about her medical history to the journalist.

In the so-called “arms deal trial,” Zuma is charged with conspiracy, corruption, money laundering and fraud in connection with a million-dollar deal signed in the late 1990s with the French company Thales.

In parallel to that cause, Zuma was the center of a great investigation known as “State Capture”, which studied the alleged corruption that affected the South African public apparatus while he was president.

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