South Africa 7.9.2018 02:26 pm

Zuma’s state covered legal fees up from R15.3 m to R17m

Former president Jacob Zuma, left, and President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands at a farewell cocktail function for Zuma, in a picture released by the South African government. Picture: GCIS/AFP

Former president Jacob Zuma, left, and President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands at a farewell cocktail function for Zuma, in a picture released by the South African government. Picture: GCIS/AFP

The DA has launched a court application to review and set aside the agreement between the Presidency and Zuma to cover the former president’s legal costs.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s personal legal costs covered by the state have increased from the previously announced R15.3 million to R16.7 million.

In a letter from the presidency dated August 28, 2018, addressed to the speaker of parliament, it stated that according to updated information from the department of justice: “the total cost to the state of the former president’s legal fees is R16 788 781.14”.

The DA has launched an application to review and set aside the agreements between the presidency and Zuma to cover the legal costs incurred by him for his criminal prosecution.

The case will be heard in the high court in Pretoria on November 6 and 7, 2018.

In a statement on Friday, the DA said Zuma had over the last decade exploited the country’s justice system with numerous court proceedings that had the intention of avoiding or delaying criminal prosecutions against him.

“He has also misused the courts to maintain his grip on power,” the statement read.

“The taxpayer has so far footed the bulk of the legal bill for this. The DA will not stand by and let this unjust situation continue. South Africans have already paid too dearly for Zuma’s term in office and should not be required to foot the costs of his legal proceedings.

“Zuma should not be entitled to any further financial support from the government or the people of South Africa and the DA looks forward to arguing our case in court,” the party said.

Ramaphosa told parliamentarians earlier this year that the costs arose from a request by Zuma that the state pay for his legal expenses.

The president said the request was approved by the presidency based on advice from the state attorney’s office and the department of justice and constitutional development at the time.

Ramaphosa added that the former president signed an undertaking to pay back the money if it was found that he had acted in his personal capacity and own interests when carrying out the offences he was charged for.

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