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The Presidency’s decision to cover Zuma’s legal expenses invalid, contends DA

Last updated on April 8, 2018

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Alliance (DA) has filed papers in the North Gaut­eng High Court test­ing the under­stand­ing by the Pres­i­den­cy to take care of the legal expens­es incurred by for­mer Pres­i­dent Jacob Zuma for his crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.

The DA argued in court papers on Fri­day the deci­sion by the Pres­i­den­cy to take care of the legal expense brought about by Zuma for his crim­i­nal alle­ga­tions be reviewed, pro­nounced invalid and put aside.

The oppo­si­tion par­ty fur­ther ordered that the R15.3 mil­lion already spent by Zuma on the suit be refund­ed.

“We base this on the fact that the State Attor­ney Act refers to tak­ing care of legal expens­es due to actions com­mit­ted while an employ­ee of the State and an oblig­a­tion. Not one charge against Zuma relates to his actions com­mit­ted when he was MEC, Deputy Pres­i­dent or Pres­i­dent,” said DA Fed­er­al Coun­cil Chair­per­son James Selfe.

There­fore, said Selfe it is our view that Zuma must pay­back the R15.3 mil­lion effec­tive­ly spent in lit­i­ga­tion that has extend­ed over the bet­ter part of 10 years in which he did his most extreme to main­tain a strate­gic dis­tance from his day in court, at the pub­lic expense.

“He should not be giv­en a sin­gle cent more for a crim­i­nal tri­al is yet to start. These costs must be cov­ered by Zuma,” said Selfe.

He said the DA antic­i­pates con­fir­ma­tion of the tri­al date where Zuma will con­front the 783 counts of fraud, cor­rup­tion, rack­e­teer­ing and mon­ey laun­der­ing against him.

“Zuma has already cost our coun­try. All mon­ey spent for his defer­ring strate­gies must be recu­per­at­ed and South Africans ought not to need to pay a sin­gle cent towards defend­ing him in the crim­i­nal case,” added Selfe.

“The Pres­i­den­cy is in this way bound by that deci­sion and must keep pay­ing for Zuma’s legal charges since it embraced to do as such until the point when the deci­sion is reviewed and set aside by a court, “the Pres­i­den­cy said in a state­ment in light of DA’s con­tention.

Amid his tenure, the for­mer Pres­i­dent made a request for the State to take care of the expens­es of his legal fees.

Accord­ing to infor­ma­tion sought by Pres­i­dent from the State Attor­ney, the deci­sion to give legal por­tray­al to for­mer Pres­i­dent Zuma at State cost was tak­en under sec­tion 3(1) of the State Attor­ney Act 56 of 1957 in 2006.

“It was based on advice from the then Chief State Law Advi­sor, Direc­tor-Gen­er­al in the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and the State Attor­ney, who all pre­scribed the arrange­ment of legal por­tray­al at State cost under sec­tion 3 of the State Attor­ney Act,” added the Pres­i­den­cy.

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