Gopolang Moloko
1 minute read
13 Dec 2018
4:43 pm

If Zuma opts for Legal Aid, ‘taxpayers are still paying’

Gopolang Moloko

Twitter users were quick to demand clarity on the high court's judgment that the former president's legal defence would no longer be funded by taxpayers.

Jacob Zuma. Image: Lonwabo Tunyiswa/Twitter

Social media users were quick to fact-check what Thursday’s ruling in the High Court in Pretoria would mean after Jacob Zuma was instructed to foot the bill for his own legal fees from now on, as well as repay what’s already been spent.

The high court ruled that Zuma be held personally liable for some of the millions spent on his legal costs fighting corruption charges. It ruled the state attorney would need to determine Zuma’s costs after the state estimated the taxpayer-funded amount to be around R16 million.

A 2006 agreement between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki was set aside by the court. The agreement was invalid and the money already spent should be recovered, the court ruled.

The ruling means Zuma’s defence will not be paid for by the taxpayer. DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the deal by the ANC and Zuma to pay for his fees was irrational and that it was time for Zuma to pay from his own pocket.

Maimane said a precedent had been set for state officials who abused state resources to endlessly litigate through the court to frustrate other processes.

“Where people feel like the taxpayer’s money must be used for their own personal protection, that simply can’t be allowed.”

The ruling, which intends to have Zuma foot the bill without taxpayer assistance, as said by the DA, appears to have a hole in it, though, that social media users have noted.

Zuma does have the option of Legal Aid, which Twitter users were quick to point out would also be funded by taxpayers.

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