NEWS & ANALYSIS

SA should not pay for Zuma's lawfare - James Selfe

DA FCC says his party will be challenging in court govt's open cheque book policy for ex-President

DA to apply to set aside decision for SA to pay for Zuma’s legal fees

The DA has today received a reply from President Cyril Ramaphosa to our questions about the deal struck whereby South African taxpayers have been forced to pay R15.3 million for Jacob Zuma’s legal fees.

It is abundantly clear from the reply that Zuma’s application for legal assistance was for the criminal trial, not the R15.3 million already spent on the civil trial brought by the Democratic Alliance and fought over the better part of a decade. The criminal trial has yet to begin.

The DA will now approach the courts to seek a declaratory order that payment of all the legal fees for the case is declared unlawful.

We will also apply to have all decisions relating to the R15.3 million already paid in the civil case brought by the DA to ensure Zuma gets his day in court and all monies spent on his criminal trial thus far and in future, reviewed and set aside and that this money is recouped from Zuma personally.

President Ramaphosa confirmed that “The office of the Presidency is therefore bound by that decision and must continue paying for Mr Zuma’s legal fees on the basis that it undertook to do so until such time as the decision is reviewed and set aside by a court”.

Furthermore, the undertaking by the State Attorney does not add up and it certainly does not include R15.3 million already spent on in this case.

The State Attorney may grant legal assistance where it sees fit and conversely, may choose to not provide assistance. The offences in question, allegedly committed by Zuma, were in his role as MEC of Economic Affairs and Tourism in Kwazulu-Natal when he was relatively unknown. It remains unclear why the State Attorney would grant legal assistance to Zuma.

Ultimately, Zuma should not be entitled to a single cent of the people’s money and the DA will now fight to ensure this.

The choice to pay for Zuma’s legal fees has cost our country too much already and cannot go unchallenged. If President Ramaphosa will not take this decision review, the DA will.

Statement issued by James Selfe MP, DA Federal Council Chairperson, 22 March 2018