‘Free man’ Zuma to thank supporters at court in legal showdown with Downer and Maughan

  • Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to be in court for his bid at the private prosecution of State prosecutor Billy Downer SC and journalist Karyn Maughan. 
  • Maughan will apply to have the case against her dismissed and says it is a gross abuse of the court process. 
  • In the meantime, Zuma is planning to thank his supporters on the sidelines of his first major public appearance since his sentence for contempt ended.

Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to give his supporters a shoutout on the sidelines of the showdown between himself, prosecutor Billy Downer SC and News24 specialist legal writer Karyn Maughan at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.

“I can confirm his excellency will be in court,” said Mzwanele Manyi, who provides updates on Zuma to the media and via his Twitter account for the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

“He is going to thank them,” Manyi told News24 in a whirlwind round of media interviews on Sunday. Manyi trumpeted the end of Zuma’s sentence on Friday with a post describing the former president as a “FREEMAN”.

Zuma’s court appearance usually attracts hundreds of supporters who believe he is being persecuted, from the rape trial where he was acquitted, to the multitude of appearances for the stop-start corruption trial he and military system manufacturer Thales face.

On Friday, Zuma completed his 15-month sentence for contempt of court for walking out of the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.

READ | Zuma’s 15-month sentence has come to an end, says correctional services

He was sentenced on 29 June last year and left his home in Nkandla in a speedy convoy to start serving his sentence at the eleventh hour on 7 July 2021.

After two months in prison in Estcourt, he was granted medical parole in a move met with cynicism by some quarters.

His medical condition came up again during his special plea to the court this year, that Downer be declared as having no title to prosecute him, because Zuma argued he would not get a fair trial with Downer at the helm of the case.