OPINION

Zuma’s legal costs cost taxpayers R24,2m since 2009– Pieter Groenewald

FF Plus leader notes that ex-President was not successful in a single one of these cases

Zuma’s legal costs amount to R24,24 million of tax money

17 October

The legal costs for former President Jacob Zuma’s court cases, since he became president of South Africa in 2009, amount in total to R24,24 million (R24 240 201).

The information was gleaned from a written answer provided by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Michael Masutha, in response to a parliamentary question posed by Dr Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus.

Zuma approached the court regarding five separate matters without success. Only one of these cases has been finalised. In almost every case, he had at least three advocates and in one of the cases, he even had five.

The fact that Zuma was not successful in a single one of these cases serves as proof that tax payers’ money was squandered in an attempt to keep him out of trouble.

In the case where the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) obtained a search warrant to search, amongst others, the offices of Thint and sent a written request to the Mauritius authorities to secure documents, which Zuma opposed, the legal costs amounted to R15,3 million.

This matter was taken to the Constitutional Court, where Zuma lost the case. This is the only case that has been finalised.

In the case where Zuma questioned the legal powers of the Public Protector (PP) concerning her report on Nkandla, the legal costs amounted to R3,2 million (R3 196 492) and Zuma had five advocates. This matter was also taken to the Constitutional Court.

Another example of how tax money was squandered to cover Zuma’s legal expenses is the case in which he proceeded against the PP in an attempt at preventing the state capture report from being issued. Zuma had three advocates in this case and the costs amounted to R2,5 million (R2 530 135).

Three advocates were also used in Zuma’s appeal against the DA’s request to disclose the reasons for the dismissal of the former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, Nhlanhla Nene. The costs amounted to R1,2 million (R1 247 617). This case has now been scheduled for 2 May 2018 in the Appeals Court.

The FF Plus posed the question regarding Zuma’s legal costs in November last year already. Minister Masutha did not respond at the time and the question had to be repeated to get an answer.

This serves as proof that the minster tried to protect Zuma while he was still president as the minister was only willing to disclose the information once he was no longer serving as president.

The abovementioned makes it clear that Zuma squandered tax money by having up to five advocates, which unnecessarily drives up legal costs, for court cases that he keeps losing. The FF Plus is of the opinion that Zuma must be held personally liable for the legal costs.

Text of reply:

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION NO: 853

DATE OF QUESTION: 23 MARCH 2018

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 10 APRIL 2018

[Dr P J Groenewald (FF Plus) to ask the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services:†

(1)  Whether his department has paid any legal costs since 2009 in cases in which the former President of South Africa, (Details furnished), was involved; if so, (a) for which case in each individual year has payment been made to date, (b) what was the cost regarding each case in each individual year, (c) what case was (i) finalised and (ii) not finalised in each individual year and (d) what number of legal representatives was used in each individual case;

(2)  whether he will make a statement on the matter?

NW932E]

REPLY:

(1)  Yes. The table below provides details of legal costs in respect to cases in which the former President of South Africa, was involved in since 2009:

File Reference Number

Case Number

Number of Legal Representatives / Advocates

Status of the Case

Amount

Individual Years

7313/16/Z75

79808/2016; 91139/2006

Three (3) Advocates

Client's instruction pending possible appeal

R 2 530 135.52

2006

2016

2751/17/Z75

24396/17 & SCA 664/2017

Three (3) Advocates

Appeal pending

R 1 247 617.82

2017

6043 & 6041/15/Z75

CCT143/15

Five (5) Advocates

Finalized

R 3 196 492.91

2015

5076 & 8286/15/Z14

62470/15 & 93043/15

Two (2) Advocates

Appeal pending

R 1 965 705.29

2015

0184/06/Z1 & 2295/09/Z65

CCT92/07; 13569/06; 14116/05; CCT91/07 & 19577/09 & SCA836/13 

One (1) Private Attorney

Finalized

R 15 300 250.00

2007, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013

 

 

 

TOTAL

R 24 240 201.54

 

Issued by Parliament, 17 April 2018

ENDS

Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus Leader, 17 April 2018