Ramaphosa leaves Zuma to fly solo in his legal fees battle

31 May 2018 - 17:27 By Karyn Maughan
Former president Jacob Zuma during his welcome home prayer in Nkandla on May 31, 2018.
Former president Jacob Zuma during his welcome home prayer in Nkandla on May 31, 2018.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will not be fighting for his predecessor Jacob Zuma to continue getting state funding of his legal fees.

Instead‚ Ramaphosa will leave the matter entirely in the court's hands.

Zuma is due to appear in the Durban High Court on corruption charges next week – but a senior National Prosecuting Authority source told TimesLIVE that Zuma’s lawyers had already written to the NPA requesting a stay in his prosecution pending the outcome of his legal fees battles with the DA and the EFF.

Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley confirmed that he wrote to prosecutions head Shaun Abrahams to ask that the former president’s prosecution be halted pending the outcome of the legal battle over who will pay his defense fees.

Ramaphosa has now filed a notice to abide by the decision of the High Court when it decides on applications by the DA to turn the taps off on government’s continued funding of Zuma’s fees. He has yet to respond to a similar application brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters to force Zuma and his lawyers to repay the state money already spent on his criminal defence‚ as this application was filed after that brought by the DA.

Ramaphosa has indicated that he will file an “explanatory affidavit” in the DA case.

This means that it will now be up to Zuma – as a private individual – to convince the court that he is legally entitled to that state funding.

Hulley had previously warned that this looming court battle could delay his trial‚ potentially for years.

It also remains unclear how Zuma will pay for his bid to retain state funding of his defence fees.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed that Zuma’s lawyers had written to Abrahams about their funding issues‚ and that he was currently consulting NPA leadership and Directorate of Public Prosecutions of KwaZulu-Natal‚ Advocate Moipone Noko‚ on the issue.

“He will respond to the letter once he has finished this consultation‚” he said.

Mfaku declined to comment on whether Zuma was seeking a stay of his prosecution.

Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect Hulley's comment requesting a halting of prosecution pending the resolution of funding issues.