President Jacob Zuma’s terms in office since 2009 have seen him lurch from one legal battle to another.
In fact, Zuma entered office after having survived a rape charge and apparently escaping having to answer for 783 corruption charges. It’s been years since we were talking about Schabir Shaik, who was displaced by Nkandla, Nenegate and now the obsession with state capture (among many smaller other cases along the way).
The taxpayer has had to foot the bill for the president’s legal costs in most cases.
During former president Thabo Mbeki’s term, the presidency is said to have spent about R500 000 a year on legal costs. The same can’t be said about when Zuma took office.
In Zuma’s first year in office, News24 reported that the Presidency spent R13.6 million on legal costs, 27 times more than that of Mbeki.
In 2010/2011, R6.34 million was spent on legal battles, and in 2011/2012 R6.30 million. This totals R26 240 000 million spent between 2009, when Zuma took office, and 2012.
In his medium-term budget in October 2012, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan allocated R20 million to the presidency for unforeseen “legal costs and executive service costs”, on top of the presidency’s original 2012/12 budget.
It is not clear how much was spent between 2013 to 2016, considering that there was the Nkandla case and other matters. However, some reports allege the the Presidency could have spent as much as R45 million by now.
The DA has also alleged that the department of police has spent more than R17 million on political witch-hunts “targeting individuals who have fallen out of favour with Jacob Zuma or his acolytes”. This speaks directly to the politicisation of our law enforcement agencies and the resultant perversion of our criminal justice system.