Zuma attempting to embarrass, silence Karyn Maughan, says News24 boss Adriaan Basson

News24 specialist reporter Karyn Maughan. Photo: Twitter

News24 specialist reporter Karyn Maughan. Photo: Twitter

Published Oct 10, 2022


Pretoria – News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson said the private prosecution initiated by former president Jacob Zuma against his publication’s specialist reporter Karyn Maughan and State prosecutor advocate Billy Downer, SC, was a bid to silence the journalist.

“We believe this case is brought for one reason: that is to embarrass Karyn Maughan, to silence her, to harass journalists, to stop reporting on Mr Zuma’s case. That is why we are bringing this urgent application this morning in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, asking the court to actually do away with this private prosecution in its entirety,” Basson spoke to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

“Firstly, we believe it is fundamentally flawed. There is no nolle prosequi certificate against Karyn Maughan. It doesn’t exist, so there can’t be private prosecution. Secondly, we believe that this case is purely brought for reasons of abuse to try and undermine media freedom, to try and silence Karyn Maughan. She has been reporting on the Zuma case almost for 20 years, and that is obviously irking Mr Zuma.”

Basson said there was no harm to the former president as a result of Maughan’s writing.

“There is no injury or damage done through her reporting on public court papers. It is important to remember that those documents that Mr Zuma and his lawyers are claiming were private were put into court by his own lawyers. His own lawyer attached that letter from his doctor, which is not a medical report by any stretch of the imagination. It is a doctor’s note that doesn’t go into the detail of Mr Zuma’s condition,” he said.

On the other side of the court, members of the African National Congress (ANC) were gathering outside the court, declaring support for the former president.

One supporter, Lucky Moloi from Midvaal in Gauteng, told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika that he would like the former president to lead the ruling party. During the live interview, Moloi was asked what he expects Zuma to tell his followers when he addresses them later today outside court.

“(I want him) to tell the people of South Africa that we have supported him. Once he was the president, we were liberated. We had water. We had electricity. We had free education. Comrade Zuma was not a puppet. He knew what the people of South Africa wanted,” said Moloi.

“Today, comrade Zuma is going to address us and tell us that we should be free. Once we, as South Africans, start to take ourselves seriously, that is very important. Comrade Zuma is going to lead this country.”

Moloi was asked if he supports Zuma’s bid to become the chairperson of the ANC.

He responded: “Even the president. Because he has done wonders. Even the president. He has done wonders, so we declare him. We support him”.

Moloi added that several people from ANC wards in Midvaal had arrived to support Zuma.