- It's a roller-coaster ride between Jacob Zuma, the DA and EFF over applications for the former president to pay back his legal fees
- Since 2005, the state has been funding Jacob Zuma's legal fees, but the DA and EFF want to put a stop to it
- A judge also pointed out Zuma, on several occasions, vowed to repay his legal costs, adding that it does not matter that he was asked to do so 12 years later
Although former president, Jacob Zuma, vowed on many occasions to pay back his legal fees that the state is currently paying, he has not paid back one cent.
Over the years, Zuma indicated that if the several applications to stop his criminal trial aren't successful, he will repay his legal costs.
The DA and the EFF both have applications open currently with the courts, in which the parties call for Zuma to pay back between R15 million and R32 million of the legal costs the government has already spent on the ousted former president.
In their applications, the opposition parties said Zuma repeatedly indicated he would repay his fees. The parties used this as their reasons why he should be held liable to pay back each cent.
One of the three judges hearing the DA and EFF's applications is Judge Pieter Meyer. Meyer also pointed out Zuma's repeated undertaking to pay back his legal costs when the former president's advocate argued in Zuma's defence.
Zuma’s advocate, Thabani Masuku, told the court the application should be thrown out. Masuku's reason was that the EFF and DA took too long to launch their applications. According to Masuku, this increased Zuma’s potential liability and prejudiced him, reported The Citizen.
But, Meyer said Zuma undertook to repay the fees. The judge added that because Zuma has been asked to repay his legal costs 12 years later, does not make any difference.
“He undertook to repay … that he’s now (some 12 years later) called to repay does not make any difference.”
The EFF's advocate, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, told the court Zuma spent more than R32 million on litigation to date. However, this figure was not certain, as the state attorney did not manage Zuma's litigation costs properly.
Ngcukaitobi told the court it was clear, from Zuma's criminal charges he faced when he was the MEC of economic affairs for KwaZulu-Natal, that he abused his power to benefit his then co-accused, Schabir Shaik.
He added that not only did Zuma abuse his MEC position, but he also had access to a never-ending pit of funds as MEC, as deputy president and as president.
The advocate argued if the court does not stop the state's funding of Zuma's legal cases, taxpayers will keep paying for Zuma until the end of time.
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