News / South Africa / Courts

Gopolang Moloko
3 minute read
13 Dec 2018
12:46 pm

Maimane says the ‘system of corruption’ has been stopped today

Gopolang Moloko

Other people complicit in state capture are next, according to the DA, and the free 'pipeline' to protect them is now gone.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane is seen at the Tshwane events centre. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Former president Jacob Zuma will be held liable for at least some of the legal fees in the millions accumulated by the state while fighting his corruption charges.

The High Court in Pretoria ruled this morning that 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.

Zuma’s legal fees date as far back as 2006, when he faced prosecution in the spy tapes matter.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who attended the landmark judgment, said the DA had fought for more than a decade to ensure that Zuma had his day in court, and that he pay for it himself.

“The deal by the ANC and Mr Zuma to pay for his fees was irrational, which is the case we argued. We hold the view that it’s about time that Mr Zuma, if he wants to litigate on his own, should pay from his own pocket.”

Maimane said a precedent had been set for state officials who abuse 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.”

He said the pipeline of protection for Zuma had therefore been cut, sending a message that the DA would continue to fight the system of corruption.

“This case sets an important precedent, and we will take this fight further to those people complicit in state capture.”

(Video by Rorisang Kgosana)

Zuma’s defence is likely to contest the judgment.

In a statement following the ruling, Maimane said: “Today the people of South Africa have achieved a great victory in the battle for accountability. The high court has ruled that the state will not fund Jacob Zuma’s legal fees in his defence of his role in the corruption that has afflicted our country. And it has ordered Jacob Zuma to pay back the money already incurred by the state for his pending cases.

“The Democratic Alliance has always maintained it was wrong of President Mbeki to decide that the public should pay for Zuma’s defence, and we argued that President Ramaphosa should have cancelled this illegal deal immediately. Sadly President Ramaphosa chose to help Jacob Zuma instead of standing up for accountability for corruption. We are thrilled that our court action has been successful. Of course, it should never have come down to a legal battle. Ramaphosa should have done the right thing and made Zuma pay for his own defence, without the people and the courts forcing him to do so.

“The system of corruption, where those who loot the state are then able to defend themselves using public money has been stopped today. This case sets an important precedent, and we will take this fight further to those people complicit in state capture.”

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