Zuma wins crucial victory in state capture costs case

20 September 2018 - 12:53 By Karyn Maughan
Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma.

The Pretoria High Court has granted former President Jacob Zuma the right to personally intervene in the state capture litigation – meaning he can now seek to appeal the R10-million personal costs order against him.

But Zuma must pay the costs of his intervention application.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said the court would provide reasons for the ruling at a later stage.

Zuma’s Advocate, Thabani Masuku, on Thursday hit back at accusations that the former President was “litigious”, and was embarking on this latest appeal bid as a “delaying tactic”.

“The court exists to uphold fundamental rights. It has to be unwavering in its resolve to do so. It does not have to be persuaded at all by argument toward the person concerned. We are personally stunned, looking at the words used to dismiss this application as an unmeritorious application,” Masuku argued.

He added that the court must decide the case on its merits, not on the basis that “he [Zuma] is a litigious person, or alleged litigious person who has been running around”.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, arguing for the UDM and Cope, had argued earlier that the state capture case had been “killed” on April 18 when President Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew Zuma’s appeal application.

“You can’t intervene in dead proceedings,” Mpofu argued, “You can’t breathe life into a dead body.”

Zuma had sought to appeal the ruling that confirmed former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action in her State of Capture report, specifically that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng chose the judge who would preside over the State Capture Inquiry, rather than Zuma himself.

Zuma had also sought to challenge the costs order granted against him.

While the High Court found that Zuma litigated recklessly in the state capture cases, he has denied this. He says he believes the High Court is unfairly “punishing me” for seeking to challenge Madonsela’s State of Capture report, despite his continued belief that he was correct in doing so. 

According to Zuma, being forced to pay the legal costs of the state capture cases “poses a significant financial burden on me personally”.