No legal basis to fund Zuma’s legal defence, argues EFF in SCA

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) contends that there is no legal basis for the state to fund former President Jacob Zuma’s legal defence in his criminal trial.

Zuma is challenging the December 2018 High Court order which set aside the state’s decision to fund his defence in the case.

On Tuesday, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, for the EFF, submitted in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that the decision by the state to fund Zuma’s criminal case was shrouded in secrecy and that it was difficult to determine the amount of money that was spent from 2005.

The EFF estimates that the state may have spent between R25 million – R32 million on Zuma’s legal fees, while the DA estimates the costs to be more than R16 million.

Ngcukaitobi has rejected the assertion by Zuma’s legal team that their review application to set aside Zuma’s legal funding by the state was unreasonably delayed.

“There was a change in governance when the current president arrived, there was a greater level of transparency in terms of disclosing the actual detail around the funding of Zuma. So the matter was once there in the general sense but shrouded in deep secrecy. What we’ve now come to know is that it is much deeper than anyone could have thought,” adds Ngcukaitobi.

The former President submitted that charges levelled against him were prompted by political vengeance and acrimony.

The charges emanate from the country’s procurement of arms in the 1990s. Zuma is alleged to have received bribes in return for providing political protection to one of the winning bidders, French company, Thales.

He has told the court that the DA knew about the decision to fund Zuma’s legal costs in 2008, while the EFF might have known in 2013.

Zuma’s legal representative, Senior Counsel Thabani Masuku argued that both parties failed to exercise their parliamentary oversight duties as the state funding matter was already in the public domain.

In the video below, Zuma’s Senior Counsel presents arguments in the Supreme Court of Appeal:

Judgment has been reserved.