Former President Jacob Zuma. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

FORMER President Jacob Zuma has announced that he will open a criminal case against National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) advocate Billy Downer SC, just a week before he returns to court for his arms deal fraud and corruption trial next week.

Zuma, who is currently out on medical parole for his contempt of court sentence, has also accused the top NPA prosecutor of allegedly leaking his confidential medical records to some media houses.

The records were given to the NPA last month when Zuma and his legal team argued that he was too sick to be physically present in court.

Earlier, he had a medical note from the military health services and minutes after it was sent to Downer, Zuma alleged that it was leaked to a journalist who later asked his legal team questions and they were based on the note.

Zuma says that the leaking of the medical records has compromised him as the information was later widely circulated on traditional and social media.

In a statement issued by the Jacob Zuma Foundation on Wednesday, Zuma said he will open the case at the Pietermaritzburg police on Thursday.

“As indicated in court on 22/09/21, H.E Prez Zuma will be laying criminal charges against Adv Billy Downer SC for his admitted conduct which is in breach of sections 41(6) read with 41(7) of the NPA Act. The media is invited to a briefing outside SAPS in PMB on 21/10/21 at 13h00,” the foundation said in a statement.

His lawyers, advocate Dali Mpofu SC and Thabani Masuku SC, argued that Downer’s alleged conduct was a continuation of a pattern of leaking information to the media and other third parties.

They alleged that prior to Downer leaking the medical records to the media, even though he was cautioned to keep them confidential, Downer leaked information about Zuma’s corruption trial to certain media houses and CIA spies.

Last Thursday, Zuma addressed his supporters at a prayer event in Durban, where many of his supporters arrived in packed buses.

It was one of his first public comments since he was released from prison in September on medical parole.

“I remain a prisoner under strict parole conditions. It feels like what house arrest and banning orders must have felt like during the colonial apartheid government,” Zuma said in the audio message.

Zuma, 79, was imprisoned for defying a court order to testify at a judicial inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his presidential term from 2009 to 2018. Zuma has been implicated in wrongdoing by several witnesses including former Cabinet ministers.

He refused to appear before the commission despite an order by the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court.

Zuma served nearly two months of his 15-month jail sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Center before he was controversially released on medical parole. Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser approved Zuma’s release against the recommendation of the parole board, which had said he should remain in jail as he was in a stable condition.

Zuma spent most of his sentence in the prison’s hospital wing and was later transferred to an outside hospital where he underwent surgery in August. Zuma’s lawyers have not disclosed the reason for the surgery or his medical condition.

Zuma still faces corruption charges in a separate case in which he is accused of receiving bribes from French arms firm Thales during South Africa’s controversial arms purchase in 1999.

Zuma is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next week for the case.

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