South Africa’s graft-tainted former president Jacob Zuma has announced that he is suing President Cyril Ramaphosa over a leaked medical report linked to a 1990s arms corruption trial.
The announcement, made overnight, comes as the ruling African National Congress kicks off a conference Friday that is expected to re-elect its party leader Ramaphosa, who is facing a huge cash scandal himself.
Zuma announced that he had launched private prosecution proceedings on Thursday against Ramaphosa, accusing him of being an alleged “accessory” in the leaking of a confidential medical document about Zuma to the media.
Ramaphosa “rejects with the utmost contempt… Zuma’s abuse of legal processes and perversion,” the president’s office said.
The case is linked to Zuma’s long-running but so far unsuccessful campaign to remove prosecutor Billy Downer, who is pursuing the ex-president on corruption charges related to a 1990s arms deal.
Zuma, who alleges that Downer leaked his medical report to a journalist, is now also accusing Ramaphosa of neglecting his duties by not acting after being informed of the leak, said Mzwanele Manyi, a spokesman for his foundation.
“He didn’t move a needle … in terms of addressing the matter,” Manyi said.
Ramaphosa’s office dismissed Zuma’s accusations as “spurious and unfounded”.
Zuma’s lawsuit is unlikely to hamper Ramaphosa’s chances of being re-elected as ANC leader, as analysts say the embattled party needs Ramaphosa.
“There’s nothing political here,” Manyi told AFP.