Explainer: Why the judge said enough, ordered Zuma to pay his own legal fees

Explainer: Why the judge said enough, ordered Zuma to pay his own legal fees

After a landmark ruling made by Judge Aubrey Ledwaba, has been determined that Jacob Zuma has to settle the bill for his world-class legal defence

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Jacob Zuma has finally been held accountable for the massive legal bill he has thus far been expecting to come out of taxpayers pockets.

So far the estimate that the former president is expected to repay sits at R16 million from the last 13 years. That fee might rise up to R50 million to include the court appearances from 2018.

But why the sudden change of heart after the years of covering the bill for world-class defence lawyers to protect the ex-president from state capture judgements and corruption cases?

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Defending public interest

Judge Aubrey Ledwaba’s first order of business had been to determine if it was in the public’s interest to have Jacob Zuma prosecuted. Ledwaba had reasoned that nobody was above the law and this had been met with resounding approval. The judge had written that this move best reflects the interests of good governance.

Value for money

Judge Ledwaba went on to say that he felt the millions of rands used to pay for Zuma’s court sagas had taken much-needed funding from those in poor communities. He firmly stated that bailing out Zuma when he was facing serious charges instead of funding those in poverty was unacceptable.

A nod to political parties

Whilst the DA had played a huge role in seeing this lawsuit played out in court, the Judge had also credited the EFF. Writing that the party had been correct in saying the former president should receive state-funded assistance but through the proper channels.

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Zuma had every right to legal aid, just not the eight-figure bill he had been hoping for. Effectively, Zuma can either pay for his lawyers himself or apply for legal aid like other South Africans in similar situations.

In Ledwaba’s own words:

The state is not liable for legal fees incurred by Jacob Zuma in his own personal capacity.

The decision to allow state-funding for cases in June 2005, December 2007 and March 2018 have been declared invalid. Legal fees paid for by the state in these instances must be returned.

It is now up to the state attorney to determine how much must be paid back for all of Jacob Zuma’s personal cases.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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