- Former president Jacob Zuma will still be entitled to his pension and other fringe benefits even if he is convicted
- The only way a president can lose those benefits is by being impeached
- Experts believe Zuma’s legal team will try to delay court proceedings for many years to come
Former president Jacob Zuma is scheduled to appear in the Durban High Court on 16 charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
What few people may realise is that even if Zuma is convicted of the alleged crimes, he will retain his presidential benefits such as his pension and all other fringe benefits.
Constitutional law expert Pierre De Vos said the simple fact was that nothing would happen with the benefits of a former president if that person is charged with a crime or even convicted and sent to prison.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the only way for a president to lose their benefits is by being impeached by parliament. Since Zuma resigned that possibility has now been nullified.
De Vos believes Zuma’s legal team, which effectively has unlimited funding due to the deal Zuma struck with Thabo Mbeki in 2006, will try to delay court proceedings for years and possibly indefinitely.
“The thing is that if you are an accused person and you get unlimited funds from the state to pay your lawyers, your lawyers can bring as many applications as they want until such time that they are going to be punished with a personal cost order, they can do a lot to delay the actual prosecution from happening, perhaps even indefinitely,” De Vos said
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the state had spent R15.3 million on legal fees for Zuma since the deal was reached in 2006.
Under the terms of the deal, Zuma will become personally liable to repay all the money spent on his defence if he is convicted of a crime in his personal capacity.
Meanwhile, Durban residents have been asked to avoid the areas around the court buildings as road closures come into effect and more worryingly Zuma’s supporters have vowed to shut the city down.
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