Former President Jacob Zuma‘s bid to force the state to foot the bill for his legal fees has backfired.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has dismissed Zuma’s appeal against a judgment of the High Court in Pretoria. That ruling held that the State is not liable for the legal costs incurred by the former president in his personal capacity.
In 2006 and in 2008, Zuma submitted requests to the State Attorney for legal assistance at the state’s expense for the legal fees of his corruption case linked to the country’s 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has estimated that the state may have spent between R25 million to R32 million on Zuma’s legal fees, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) estimates the costs to be more than R16 million.
The appeal was opposed by the DA and the EFF.
The DA has welcomed today’s ruling, confirming that former president must pay back the money spent by the State on his personal legal costs.
In a statement, DA Leader John Steenhuisen says the ruling confirms that the State Attorney is only obliged to act if it’s in the government’s or the public’s interest to do so. He says the matter was Zuma’s personal legal battle and he had no right to fund it with taxpayer’s money.
Below is a report on the 2018 ruling that was upheld by the SCA today: