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Zuma's legal fees estimated at R6m

DA says it's unfair for taxpayers to pay tab for frivolous litigation

15 December 2017 - 05:00 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
ANC President Jacob Zuma addresses delegates during the opening of the ANC Policy Conference at Nasrec.
ANC President Jacob Zuma addresses delegates during the opening of the ANC Policy Conference at Nasrec.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says his party has calculated that President Jacob Zuma must pay R6-million in legal fees.

He said on Thursday that Wednesday's Pretoria High Court ruling rejecting President Zuma's challenge of the public protector's State of Capture report and its recommendations, and holding him personally liable for the legal fees, was a landmark victory.

"For too long, South Africans have been personally paying the extravagant legal bill of a president who - instead of leading a country - spends most of his days in court."

The effect of the ruling was that the president must establish a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture within 30 days, making Friday January 12 2018 the final day for establishment, said Maimane. The commission must be headed by a judge selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, and has 180 days to complete its work.

"This is the first instance since the dawn of democracy in 1994 that a sitting president has been required to personally pay - out of his/her own pocket - the costs of litigation.

"On a conservative estimate, taking into consideration the DA's own expenditure on this matter, we estimate the total cost the president is liable for at roughly R6-million - which is comparable to his court-ordered payment of the non-security upgrades at Nkandla.

"This figure comprises an estimate of R4.45-million for litigants who brought the action, as well as R1.5-million that was paid to his own legal team.

"The court did not expressly require the president to pay his own legal costs, as these are covered by the state attorney. However, we will be pressuring the president to personally pay these costs, since it is unconscionable the taxpayers ... should have to pick up the tab for his frivolous litigation."